Mouthwatering? I think so. It’s hard to resist a chocolate and caramel pairing especially one in which the caramel has a deep almost burnt caramel flavor. Along with the flavor the soft and creamy caramel lends a hand towards giving a textural break to the soft snap of the rich chocolate and the crisp crunch of the deeply toasted pecans.
Yes, I’m kinda bark crazy right now, aren’t I? If you are a regular reader, than you know when I get caught on a run of something you will probably see a few variations. I can’t help it. My mind starts to rush ideas at me with the speed of an Indie car racer pedaled down on a straightaway.
And it seems the only way to calm this maniac state is to work through most of the ideas. If not, the ideas flip back and forth in my head and I’m left wondering will it work, how will it work, and most importantly—how will it taste.
Well I’m happy to share, this turned out really well. Here’s the thing-I love making candy bark because it’s so easy and all I need to think about when I’m creating one is finding components that will break up the texture and flavor. Aside from that, candy bark always makes for great gift giving-so it’s a perfect thing to add to your holiday baking arsenal.
A few notes:
- Toast your nuts for best flavor extraction.
- For the caramel cook it until it is a deep amber in color, as it will impart more flavor than pulling it off when the sugar just turns a light amber. For a step-by-step picture tutorial to making homemade caramel click here.
- Make sure the Turtle Bark is nice a cold when cutting for clean even edges.
- Use at least 65% cacao as the anything less will melt too fast in the hands of those eating it.
- You will have more caramel then you need, so keep the leftover in a jar to use in or on another dessert.
Makes one 8×8 pan | Preparation line 8×8 pan with parchment or wax paper.
• ½ cup pecans, toasted
• ½ cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 5 tablespoon heavy cream
• 16oz Ghirardelli 65% chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoon pecans, finely chopped
- 2oz caramel sauce
- Toasting the pecans: Place pecans on bake sheet pan and toast at 375 degrees for about 5-6 minutes then stir for even toasting and bake for about another 5-6 minutes or until nuts darken and become aromatic. Remove bakesheet from oven and set aside to cool. Once pecans are completely cooled; chop and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans and chop it some for a finely chopped consistency; set aside for finishing.
- To make the caramel filling: Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter and heavy cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.
- To melt the chocolate: Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl over (not on) simmering water and stir until melted.
- To assemble: Pour half of melted chocolate into 8×8 pans, using an offset icing spatula smooth out chocolate until an even layer is achieved. Place pan in refrigerator for 5 minutes for chocolate to become slightly harden. Remove from refrigerator and pour ¼ of caramel on top and sprinkle pecans on top of caramel and gently press pecans down into caramel. Place pan in refrigerator for 7 minutes for caramel to become slightly harden. Pour remaining chocolate on top and return to refrigerator for 20 minutes for fully assembled Turtle bark to set
- Finish top by sprinkling remaining 2 tablespoons of finely chopped pecans. Drizzle with caramel.