Worth Your Salt (Salted Chocolate Toffee Bites)

Confession: this recipe was the result of a happy accident. I was originally making a simple caramel sauce for brunch this weekend when I absentmindedly let the caramel cook on the stove much longer than anticipated. Even though i had shut the burner off, I forgot to take the caramel out of the pot. So, doing as caramel does, it continued to cook, until it reached a much harder stage, and then it cooled.  Lo and behold, when I went to serve the sauce, all I had was a pot with a brick of toffee at the bottom. I was in a panic. This was supposed to be the star of my brunch! "No problem," said my easygoing guest. "Just dip it in chocolate and we'll eat it later!"

Making chocolate is quick and simple, if you follow two rules: 1 - use good quality chocolate pastilles. Poor quality (cheap) chocolate will yield poor results. Uneven melting, poor taste, poor texture, etc.
2. Temper. Always, always temper. If your chocolate reaches a temperature above 50 degrees C, it burns, and though you might not see it, you'll definitely taste it. The texture will change once it hardens, and it will have an unpleasantly bitter, charred taste.

To make these, all you really have to do is make caramel, pour it out onto a tray, let it cool & break it up into chunks. Then, you melt the chocolate, pour it on top, and let it harden. Hit it a few times with a blunt knife and voila! Salty caramel chocolate brittle.

I hear brittle and I usually think "Christmas," but you don't really need an occasion to make this.  It keeps for a few weeks in the fridge, so you can put some in a mason jar, wrap a piece of twine around it and you've got a pretty last-minute hostess gift. You can also just save it all for yourself - it makes a great snack when you're torn between salty and sweet - that is, if you have the willpower not to eat it all in one sitting. Seriously. Make this. This stuff is delicious and dangerous and addictive and full of unadulterated happiness.

Salted Chocolate Toffee Bites
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you'll need

caramel sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch sea salt

1 cup good quality dark or milk chocolate pastilles (I used 70%)
pinch sea salt

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, warm butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and cream. Stir with a heatproof spatula in figure 8 motion, until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, stirring slowly but constantly, until mixture begins to thicken, about 6 minutes. Turn heat to low and continue cooking until mixture reaches 155C, about 10 more minutes. Add salt. Pour onto parchment lined baking sheet. Mixture will spread out and harden as it cools.

Once it is cool, break up the caramel into small chunks, leaving it on the parchment.  

Melt chocolate over a Bain Marie (A Bain Marie is a bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. The steam will heat the bowl and the chocolate will slowly melt. Do not place chocolate directly on the stove, or it will heat too quickly and you'll have a burnt, uneven result.)

Pour chocolate over caramel chunks. Place in fridge or freezer to cool about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sea salt on top only once chocolate begins to cool. You want the salt to stick to the top, not to melt in.

Once the chocolate has fully hardened, break it into brittle-sized chunks & serve. 


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