Thursday, December 12, 2013
Chocolate Saltine Bark
I suppose this Chocolate Bark isn't technically a cookie. It might be considered a candy. Whatever it's classification there's one thing I know it definitely is: absolutely delicious. If faced with a plate of these, It would be hard to have just one. They're really tasty.
And really simple to make. I first learned about this recipe years ago from a coworker who submitted it as her entry in our annual office holiday dessert contest. Since I had slaved over some fancy lattice pie or layer cake, I remember feeling a bit envious that a dessert this simple won the contest. I mean, it's crackers. But golly, if it wasn't good and, in hindsight, completely deserving. I don't remember what I made for the dessert contest that year, but I remember this recipe, and I've made it around the holidays every year since.
The nut topping on this is optional and flexible. Crushed star mints makes a great topping, as would chopped pistachios. You can also use whatever chocolate you like. I prefer something dark, but milk or white would be good too.
Chocolate Saltine Bark
1 sleeve saltine crackers
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 oz. dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips)
1 cup pan-toasted sliced almonds (see note; may substitute other toppings, such as crushed star mints, chopped pecans or chopped pistachios).
Note: To pan-toast sliced almonds, heat a medium frying pan over medium-low to medium heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the crackers on the foil in a single layer with no space between the crackers.
3. Heat butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour the hot butter-sugar mixture evenly over the crackers (do this carefully--if you pour it too fast, the crackers tend to shift on the baking sheet). Use a spatula to spread the mixture over the crackers so that they are all coated. Bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
4. Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately pour the chocolate chips over the crackers. Return to the oven for about a minute to melt the chips, then remove from the oven. Use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate in an even layer over the crackers. Sprinkle the top of the chocolate with the sliced almonds or other topping. Allow to cool, then put in the refrigerator until cold. Once chilled, break the bark into pieces (I usually try to break along the cracker edges, but some jagged shapes are fun too). Store in the refrigerator.