We are sad.
Or we have S.A.D., aka Seasonal Affective Disorder. Or something. Hmmm, can't decide which one. Or both.
Anyhoo. This horrific winter weather is starting to get to us. It's hard to be peppy and upbeat bakers when we never see the sun and never leave the house. Our motivation is at an all-time low. What's the point in turning the oven on other than to boost the heating? What's the point in baking since that would require we take our hands out of the mittens we wear around the house? What's the point in wearing anything other than pajamas since it's not like we're going to see anyone? What's the point in going out to dinner when that would mean actually going outside?
Boo. Feel bad for us.
So, we totally slacked. In a good way, though, we promise.
We just went to one of our favorite bakers and swiped an easy bark recipe. Bakers Royale. We didn't totally steal it, we made an adjustment or two. But, ok. Fine. We stole it. But it's only because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! And, um, chocolate bark is totally a sad-slacker dessert to make.
Or is it S.A.D.-slacker? Hmmm....
Adapted from Bakers Royale
For the Caramel:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Bark:
16 ounces bittersweet (60-70% cocoa) chips
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Line an 8 x 8" baking dish with parchment paper.
Make the caramel sauce. Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved, swirling to combine. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Continue to swirl occasionally. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium-dark amber color, approximately 7 minutes, add the butter and heavy cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Add the extract. Swirl again. Set aside to cool.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30-second bursts, stirring between each blitz until melted. Pour have the chocolate into the 8 x 8"pan. Smooth slightly and refrigerate for 5 minutes to cool. Pour half the caramel sauce all over the chocolate and drizzle with about 1/2 cup of the pecans. Gently press the pecans into the caramel. Refrigerate again to harden slightly, about 5 more minutes. Cover with the remaining melted chocolate. When mostly cooled, sprinkle with the remaining pecans (or to taste) and drizzle with some caramel sauce (there will be sauce left over).
Chop when cool and serve.