Monday, October 24, 2011
Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars
Secret Recipe Club time again! Which means yet another month has flown by. I am so not ready for the rapidly approaching holidays...
Wondering what Secret Recipe Club is? It is a monthly online cooking and baking group where each participant is assigned another person's blog and the assignments are kept secret, much like a Secret Santa. You browse the blog you were assigned, and choose a recipe to make and post about. Everyone "reveal" their posts on the same day. It's a great way to get know a blog you might not be familiar with and to try out a new recipe.
I was excited to see my assigned blog was Jamie's Cookin' with Moxie. I know Jamie from two baking groups, Sweet Melissa Sundays and most recently, Club: Baked. What I love about Jamie is her energy. When I read her posts she makes me smile. I imagine her to be bursting with energy and excitement with a big smile on her face. And you can tell she channels that energy through food. She's an Italian girl, originally from Long Island, NY and comes from a big family. She loves to cook with her friends and family and says that "that cooking and baking creates the best memories!" I couldn't agree more! Be sure to check out Jamie's site...she moved to her own URL and has a whole new look and feel, along with a new blog name (her former blog was Random Acts of Food).
As always, I struggled to choose what recipe to make. Too many tempting choices! Again, I ended up going the sweet route this month because I wanted to make something to take to my family pumpkin carving gathering this weekend. Her recipe for Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars sounded like a a good choice, knowing that my family loves a salty and sweet treat.
I stayed pretty true to her recipe with a couple of minor modifications. I omitted the chocolate sprinkles, and instead decided to up the chocolate factor and top these bars with chocolate ganache and a whole pretzel. I had originally planned to top these bars with a milk chocolate ganache to bring a little extra sweetness to the salty pretzels. But unfortunately I ruined some perfectly good milk chocolate and it seized up. So I turned to my chocolate stash and the only chocolate I had enough of was a bittersweet dark chocolate. So I went with it. I'm a big dark chocolate fan, but I was afraid it might be a little too dark for my nieces and nephew. Luckily I made 2 desserts for pumpkin carving...the pretzel bars and pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (post coming soon) so I'm hoping everyone will find something the like that will satisfy their sweet tooth.
These bars are super easy to make and put a fun twist on a chocolate chip cookie with salty pretzel crunch. My bars were done in 30 minutes, but I think they still may have been slightly over cooked. Next time I would check at 25 minutes. I am planning to try this recipe again using with the milk chocolate ganache. I think that would bring just the right balance of salty and sweet!
Now let's see if we can take sweet our time before November Secret Recipe is here!
Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars
from Cookin' with Moxie (originally from foodandwine.com)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of coarsely chopped pretzels
12 oz chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles (optional) - I omitted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the edges by 2 inches all around. This will help you remove the bars from the pan once they are cooked.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt and whisk. In a large bowl or your stand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light, about 1 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the pretzel bits and chocolate chips.
Spoon dough into your prepared baking dish and use a spatula to evenly spread the dough. If you are using sprinkles you would add them on top now. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden and just set. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
Run a knife around the sides of the pan and lift out the bar using the parchment paper as handles. Cut into 24 squares and serve.
from Sweet Melissa Baking Book
6 ounces of good quality chocolate, coarsely chopped (I recommend milk chocolate for this recipe)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Place chocolate in a heat proof medium bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is scalding or bubbles form around the edges. Pour heated cream over the chocolate. Do not stir. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Slowly stir the chocolate and cream together after 5 minutes until fully combined. Stir in corn syrup. Let stand for at least 10 minutes to thicken a bit.
To assemble bars with chocolate ganache and whole pretzels:
Pour ganache over your cookie bar before removing it from the pan and cutting it. Place 24
whole pretzels spread evenly in the pan, running 4 down the short side and 6 across the long side. Place the pretzels in even rows for easy cutting. Allow the ganache and pretzels to set for about 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve!