December 20, 2012

Salted Chocolate Caramel Almond Bark and Homemade Presents

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This post is a mouthful - literally. But it's totally worth it. I'm surprised that any of this bark survived in order to make it into gift bags. As I was packing them, there was a lot of 'one-for-me, one-for-the-bag' happening.

The extent of my craftiness is cooking. I am not necessarily crafty when it comes to decorating and the like - so for me, getting to the craft store for various wrapping accoutrements was a big accomplishment this year. 

caramel | almonds
caramel | almonds

This salted chocolate caramel almond bark is the kind of gift I think most people would be really happy to receive. Plus, nothing says loving like a little something homemade, right? I always appreciate receiving a homemade gift - because I know that the giver put a lot of TLC into it, and that's enough to conjure those holiday warm and fuzzies.

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This bark, like most bark, is a cinch to make. There are basically two cooking steps - make the caramel, melt the chocolate. And you can feel free to mix and match - if you're over almonds, maybe try pistachios or pecans - you could even throw some dried fruit up in there. The actual cooking time is pretty short, so if you're still looking for holiday gifts - you've got plenty of time to whip up a batch of this bark.

Happy holidays!

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What you'll need:
~adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1 lb dark chocolate (62%-70% cacao), chopped
Coarse sea salt (for sprinkling)

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, such as a silpat, or foil.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar with 2 Tbsp water. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, swirling every once and a while, and if needed, brushing the sides down with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization.
Once the sugar turns to a deep amber caramel, remove the caramel from heat and whisk in the butter.
Add the almonds, stir to coat, and turn out onto the lined baking sheet, spreading the caramel covered almonds into one, even layer. Allow to cool and once they have, break up any clumps.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Once the chocolate has melted, add most of the caramel covered almonds, reserving about 1/4 cup for later. Stir well to coat. Transfer this melted chocolate mixture to the sheet pan, being sure to spread it into one, even layer.
Top the with the reserved nuts and sprinkle with a generous dusting of sea salt.
Allow the bark to set by placing the sheet pan in the fridge for a few hours.
Once completely hardened, break up the bark into shards using your hands - it's ok if the pieces are uneven.

Wrap in cellophane gift bags and tie with ribbon or whatever holiday adornments you like.

9 comments:

  1. Oh, wow. That looks incredible! Homemade gifts are fun to give and get and your friends and family are really lucky to be getting this!

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! Every year I want to make something tasty for gifts, and every year seems to get away without me actually doing it! Not this year...

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  2. This is just the inspiration I needed to rustle up a few homemade last minute hostess gifts! Think I might do a pistachio and dried fig option and a salty peanut and popcorn dotted one just for kicks. Thanks Carrie! Have a lovely holiday too :))

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  3. Would you ever consider using organic sugar cane instead of white sugar?

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  4. My parents used to buy almond bark and pecan bark with a touch of caramel from a store on the lower East Side of NY (I think on or near Delancy and Orchard streets - it was at least 30 years ago - does anyone know the place I mean?) and I'm trying to figure out what the recipe might have been. This is the closest to what I remember but I don't think the nuts were blanched and skinned. Is that likely? Any suggestions, please?

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  5. This looks so delicious, I'd give anything to have some of it to eat right now! x
    www.charlotteswebblog.co.uk

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts!