Pecan and pretzel salted caramel bars (tart)

Panic in the kitchen. Where are the pretzels gone? My colleague Chris could tell me with his eyes what happened. No further questions were needed. So, our salted caramel bars were made without pretzels, but instead we got some almond flakes out of the cupboard to use. This is very very delicious . Not very healthy but sometimes you have to treat yourself. -enjoy-

Ps: I kept the salted caramel with shortbread base in the fridge for a couple of hours to speed things up. After adding the chocolate, the tart went back in the fridge for another hour or so. Just try to press the top with your finger and see if the consistency is to your liking.

INGREDIENTS (makes 12)

For the shortbread base

160g unsalted butter, diced and chilled, plus extra to grease
160g plain flour
60g caster sugar
Pinch sea salt flakes
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the pecan salted caramel

200g pecans
300g caster sugar
200ml double cream
100g unsalted butter, diced
1 tsp sea salt flakes

For the topping

50g dark chocolate
50g salted pretzels

You’ll also need…

sugar thermometer or digital probe thermometer

METHOD

01.Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a 20cm square cake tin and line crossways with 2 strips of baking paper so the ends overhang.
02.For the shortbread base, put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the 160g butter and the vanilla, then whizz until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Tip into the cake tin, then use your hands to press into an even layer. Chill for 30 minutes, then prick the base with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes or until pale golden brown. Set aside to cool.
03.For the caramel, put the pecans in a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until fragrant. Tip onto a chopping board and roughly chop.
04.Put the sugar into a medium saucepan and cook over a medium heat, without stirring, until melted and caramelised. Take off the heat and carefully add the cream in 2 batches (it may spit), waiting until the bubbling has subsided before adding more. Stir in the butter and salt.
05.Return to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the caramel reaches 116°C on a sugar thermometer or digital probe thermometer. Immediately take off the heat, add the chopped pecans, mixing briefly to combine, then pour over the shortbread and spread it evenly with a spatula. Set aside for at least 4 hours (or overnight) to cool.
06.For the topping, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bowl), then drizzle or pipe it over the bars. Press the pretzels into the chocolate to finish. Let the chocolate set before cutting into bars. They’ll keep in a sealed container for 2 days.

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