January 7, 2013
THIS was a tough week! After having a blast ringing in 2013 at a friends house, every family that was at the party had at least 1 member of their household come down with a crazy flu/virus which included chills, fever, feeling like you were kicked in the kidney's, THEN run over by a semi and a cough that just won't stop. Ugh!
Not a great way to start off the year, huh?
Luckily for my family, so far I have been the only victim, even though it seems to be everywhere!! My husband and kids are asthmatics, so if anyone was going to get it...the right person would be me. Today, I am just starting to feel a bit better. So I HAD TO get in the kitchen and make something and decided on a treat, a treat to thank my kids and hubs for taking care of me...then, I went to bed lol!
I stood at the pantry, I knew I had to make something simple. My eyes landed on the pretzels then the marshmallows. I think I was thinking of these, that I often make for the kiddos, then I though of caramel (my personal fav). Next thing you know, these are what I had.
My son especially is enjoying this, he helped drizzle the chocolate over top as well. Lucky for me I still don't feel that well or let-me-tell-you, I would have eaten a ton of these....the caramel alone slays me!
My kiddos like a good crunch, so I threw some broken up pretzel pieces in, then for color & fun I threw in a few mini marshmallows.
I hope you and your family's are healthy...and that you are off and running to a great 2013!
Chocolate & Caramel Bites
12 oz semi sweet chocolate (I used Nestle Morsels)
Caramel (recipe follows)
1/2 cup broken pretzel pieces
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBS light corn syrup
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
To make the caramel, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until butter is melted and ingredients are one. increase heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat a bit and keep the mixture simmering until it darkens and thickens. Remove from heat.
I happen to have a Wilton Brownie 24 Square Pan, which I love, love, love and use it for all kinds of things. So that is what I used for these. If you do not have that or something similar you feel would work, you can simply make this in an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper, then cut apart once completely cooled.
Melt 9 ounces (3/4 of the bag) of the chocolate in your microwave for about a minute, stir until smooth (depending on the strength of your microwave, you may need to put it in for an additional 15-30 seconds after stirring).
For "Squares" Pan: Coat the bottom of each square with the melted chocolate, first, tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to help spread the chocolate evenly, then use a toothpick to swirl chocolate around to cover the bottoms fully. Place a couple small pieces of broken pretzels over top each square. Place pan in your freezer for 10 minutes to allow it to quick cool and harden. Pour a caramel layer over top each square (as much as you would like, I had about 1/2 cup left over that I saved for another use). Place a few pretzel pieces and a couple marshmallows in each square, pushing them down gently into the caramel a bit, then repeat quick-cool freezer process. Melt remaining chocolate and drizzle over each square. Chill until completely set, pop out the squares and serve.
For 8x8 Pan: Line your pan with parchment paper. Coat the bottom of your pan with the melted chocolate, using a spatula to swirl chocolate around to cover the bottom fully. Scatter broken pretzels pieces over top each of the chocolate. Place pan in your freezer for 10 minutes to allow it to quick cool and harden. Pour the caramel layer over top then scatter some additional pretzel pieces and mini marshmallows over top, pushing them down gently into the caramel a bit, then repeat quick-cool freezer process. Melt remaining chocolate and drizzle over top. Chill until completely set. Cut into squares. For the pan method, you may want to use a bit more broken pretzel pieces and mini marshmallows, since there is more room.
*I made 2 batches of this. One with the caramel in the above recipe and one with my standard caramel. I found that my standard caramel, began to loose its form a bit allowed to stay at room temperature.
Standard Caramel - 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, 4 TBS butter, 6 TBS heavy cream and a pinch of Kosher salt. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Do not stir the the pot, instead, once or twice give it a gentle swirl via the handle. It will begin to boil. Allow the mixture to darken to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter then the heavy cream to the saucepan, whisking vigorously, add in a pinch or two of salt if you choose. Set aside to cool. If you use this caramel I suggest you keep the candy in the refrigerator. Note: Watch your caramel, if it cooks to long and reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage) it will become hard. I allow the caramel to turn a light amber (temp range anywhere from 235-250). I do not use a candy thremometer although I do have one, I just look at the color and texture, but if you do, go for the temp range between 235-250.
*Caramel from Annie's Eats