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Candied Peanut Chocolate Bark

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Candied Peanut Chocolate Bark
(c) 2010 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Candied Peanut Chocolate Bark features a luscious peanut-chocolate base studded with tons of homemade caramelized peanuts. I love the combination of smooth chocolate and crunchy, darkly sweet nuts. Because you caramelize the nuts yourself, you can control how dark and smoky you want your nuts to be. If you avoid peanuts for allergy or taste reasons, you can substitute another type of nut butter and candied nuts on top. You can also use purchased honey-roasted or toffee nuts instead of homemade to save time.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups (8 oz) raw shelled peanuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp (1/2 oz) softened butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, at room temperature
  • 10 oz (about 1-3/4 cup chopped) semi-sweet or milk chocolate

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a Silpat, or with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside for now.

2. Place the peanuts on a second baking sheet and toast them in the oven until brown and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Stir the peanuts every few minutes to prevent burning on the bottom and the edges.

3. When the peanuts are almost done toasting, place a medium saucepan over medium heat to get hot. Once the peanuts are toasted, immediately scrape the hot nuts into the hot saucepan and add the granulated sugar.

4. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon to distribute the sugar in the pan. Soon, the sugar will start to melt and clump around the nuts. Continue stirring and eventually the sugar will melt and start to coat the nuts. Keep stirring until the sugar is entirely melted and a golden brown color, and the nuts start to smell of caramelized sugar.

5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the salt and the butter. Stir until the butter melts and the nuts look glossy and have separated from each other. Turn the nuts out onto the prepared baking sheet and use the spoon or a fork to separate them so that they do not harden clumped together. Allow the nuts to cool completely.

6. Once the nuts are cool, prepare the chocolate bark base. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Once melted, stir in the peanut butter until completely smooth and incorporated.

7. Line a small baking sheet with foil, and pour the chocolate onto the foil. Smooth it into a layer about 1/4-inch thick. Scatter the candied peanuts all over the top, and gently tap the baking sheet on the counter to settle the peanuts into the chocolate.

8. Refrigerate the tray to set the chocolate, about 25 minutes. Once set, use a large knife to cut the bark into squares, or break it into irregular pieces by hand.

9. Candied Peanut Chocolate Bark can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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