Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Toasted Sesame Pretzel Toffee Bark

I love love love baking, it's my stress relief, and belly filler. I would assume, if you are perusing food blogs, that you love to bake too? Christmas time can add a different type of stress, maybe even panic(?), for those who are kitchen challenged. I'm not going to give you a turkey tutorial, although, that might be a good future post!  But, I can give you an idea on how to fill you're cookies platters!  The ultimate way to get a tonne of cookies, without having to do all the work, it to plan a cookie exchange!

For the past five years, I have coerced my co-workers into joining me in a cookie exchange.  I send out an internal email, and post a sign-up sheet in the staff room where they can add their name, and what they choose to contribute.  We have to bake one dozen per person, and this year we each baked for eight dozen!  Eight dozen different kinds of cookies!  Well, not just cookies, there was fudge, toffee, palmiers, and even Oreo truffles!

This is how library ladies organize cookie exchanges....on a book truck! haha

The best part about a cookie exchange is the variety of treats that you end up with!  I like to package them up for Holiday gifts for the kid's teachers, our neighbours and for friends.  I'm usually still left with enough treats for my own family, and any holiday visitors, to enjoy over the holidays, too!

Kind of ironic, that I like to bake probably the most out of all my colleagues, and I choose the easiest thing to make.  I contributed Toasted Sesame Pretzel Toffee Bark, which you may already be familiar with under the name Christmas Crack, or Saltine Toffee, or something similar.  This recipe is truly addicting, and so so simple.  Get your gift giving on - Toffee Bark style!!

Toasted Sesame Pretzel Toffee Bark

1/4 - 1/2 cup sesame seeds
roughly 50 salted waffle pretzels (enough to cover your cookie sheet)
1 cups butter
1 cups packed brown sugar
pinch of salt (optional)
1 -11/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (approximately – I usually just keep adding until it seems like enough!)

Using a small pan, over medium -high heat, toast the sesame seeds, tossing or stirring, taking care not to burn, and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, or foil,  this helps with clean-up after (and to make it easier to remove).   Line the prepared sheet with pretzels, placing them right together.
In a medium saucepan, bring the butter and brown sugar, and pinch of salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Let it bubble for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and pour it evenly over the pretzels. Spread with spatula to fill any gaps.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until bubbling and deep golden in colour. Keep an eye on it for the last few minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Remove from the oven, and then scatter chocolate chips over top while the caramel is still hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then spread chocolate out with a spatula or knife until smooth, and finally, scatter the toasted sesame seeds over the top.
Cool completely in the fridge, (or in the garage cold room) then break up into pieces using your hands.  I like there to be barks of all shapes and sizes, and prefer they aren't just squares - don't be a square, man!  Package up for gift giving, or get ready to get your will tested!

Happy Holidays!

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