Friday, January 31, 2014

Chocolate Pecan Toffee Bark

Chocolate Pecan Toffee Bark. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 It's been a snowy week here in Georgia, and because it only happens every few years, we go a little bit crazy. When the weather forecasters start with the "perfect storm" prognosticating, I make sure the minivan has a full tank of gas, and that I have bottled water and granola bars stashed away just in case I'm in the car a little longer than I want to be. As for groceries, while everyone else heads for the bread, milk, Spam and frozen pizza, I make sure I have plenty of butter and eggs, because the extra time at home means time to bake.

And that's why I had three pounds of butter during this week's Snow Jam. And here's one way I used 1/2 of one of those pounds of butter ~ chocolate pecan toffee bark. This recipe is five-ingredient simple, and hits on all points of the butter-chocolate-salt-crunchy matrix. 

It begins with, of all things, graham crackers:

 And a buttery syrup:

That is poured over the crackers:

The crackers are baked, then topped with semi-sweet chocolate chips that melt into the crackers:

The toffee is finished with a sprinkling of chopped pecans. 

The mixture is popped into the fridge or freezer to cool, then is broken into a beautiful, bark-y puzzle.

Chocolate Pecan Toffee Bark

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
1/2 box plain graham crackers
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips   
1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts

1. Heat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with foil, nonstick if you have it, making sure the foil goes up the sides of the pan.

2. In a medium sized pot, melt butter and sugars together. Let mixture come to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat, then let simmer for five minutes. 

3. While sugar syrup is bubbling away, line the foil covered pan with graham crackers, no spaces in between. Break crackers to fit edges of pan. 

4. When syrup is ready, pour over graham crackers. Place pan in oven and let bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

5. Remove pan from oven and let cool for just a few minutes. Sprinkle and spread chocolate chips over crackers. Use an offset spatula to smooth the melted chocolate over the crackers. Sprinkle nuts over the top of the chocolate. Let toffee cool for about an hour or so, then break into pieces. (If your fridge or freezer can hold the tray, pop it in for about 15 minutes to speed up the cooling process.) Store bark in an airtight container at room temperature.

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