Thursday, September 8, 2016

Snacktember - Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Bark



I am officially declaring this September... Snacktember

#Snacktember

With bikini season drawing to a close, we can all be a little less vigilant about the kale salad and green smoothies, and indulge ourselves just a tiny bit more in some delicious snacks!


To kick off #Snacktember I want to put a new twist on a favourite snack that delights at potlucks, kids birthdays, or just lets you indulge in some chocolate when you need a pick me up:

Chocolate Caramel Bark!

The twist is that instead of using a traditional cracker base, I've cooked up a gluten free alternative that everyone will love!

A bit of back story, for the month of August this year I went gluten free to deal with some health concerns. One day while at work someone brought in Chocolate Caramel Bark made with saltine crackers... and I couldn't eat any.

Horror, dismay... inspiration!

I would make my own version of this treat, complete with a cracker-suplement to help hold together the gooey caramel and the melted chocolate. It only took me a tiny bit longer than it normally would and is super delicious.

Without further ado, here is my recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Bark. Let #Snacktember begin!




Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Bark - makes one 8x8 pan

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free oats* 
  • 1/2 + 1/2 cups salted butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk** 
  • optional: white chocolate chips, candies

*While Oats themselves are gluten free (except for a few celiacs who have them on their list as well) most bags of oats are processed around wheat. If you are just sensitive to gluten, you can make do. If it's a definite NO for you try a Gluten Free oat like Bob's Red Mill!

** You can also use regular milk if you don't want to buy coconut... or you can use almond... light coffee cream... basically just some kind of unsweetened milk product in with your chocolate chips to help melt them


Directions

1) Start with your "cracker" crust layer. Add all your oats to a food processor and blend until they resemble a coarse flour.



Once this is done, melt down the first 1/2 cup of butter and add it to the oats and process until well mixed. Add the salt and blend once more.




Grab an 8x8 pan and layer with parchment paper (alt: butter pan) using a fork press your oat mixture well into the corners. Aerate this layer with the fork then set aside.

an 8x8 pan will give you a thicker bark. If you're looking for a more traditional thin bark, use the same amount of ingredients in a 9x13 pan!




2) In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the second 1/2 cup of butter and your sugar, stirring consistently. You want the mixture to get thicker and come to a boil (this will take approx. 4 minutes).

Once the mixture boils, remove from heat. To help it thicken, take a large soup ladle and scoop up sections of the caramel and pour slowly back into the pot. repeat this a few times and you'll begin to notice that the caramel is looking smoother.




Pour your caramel mixture over the crust in the pan. Place in fridge to harden while you prepare your chocolate. Let it sit in there about 20-30 minutes

3) In another sauce pan (or the same one if you washed it!) over medium heat, melt together the semisweet chocolate chips and your coconut milk, stirring until well mixed. 

Pour the melted chocolate over the hardened caramel layer. 

An optional step? Melt down some white chocolate chips (no milk required) for a white chocolate drizzle on top! Or add some candies!




You're done! Pop that pan in the freezer to set overnight and get ready to enjoy!




You can see that I made mine on the thicker side in a 8x8 pan, but if you wanted to use a 9x13 without changing the ingredient amounts you could get a nice thin bark!

The nice thing about this caramel bark is that it provides a nice substitution to the gluten-filled option, or even treats like slutty brownies! 

Salty, Caramel, Chocolaty... these are the cornerstones of an ooey-gooey-chewy snack to savour!

Happy #Snacktember!



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