Salted Chocolate Caramel Tarts

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  I hope that you have wonderful plans for your weekend with family and friends and that good food is a part of the celebration and time to remember the men and women that have given their lives to serve our country.

Memorial Day weekend has always been the beginning of Summer for me and it ushers in my favorite time of year for fresh fruits and vegetables.  I was so excited to find the first of the South Carolina peaches at the Farmers’ Market yesterday.  They are one of our favorite fruits and we cannot get enough of them this time of year.  I prefer the free stone peaches that will be available in about another month, but I am happy to have these for now. Why don’t we celebrate the holiday and the beginning of Summer with a recipe for a decadent chocolate tart and a cookbook giveaway?!

I am really excited about this cookbook giveaway, Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers, by Debby Maugans.  Can I use the word darling to describe a cookbook?  I think it is because everything is made in smaller amounts!  Her recipes are designed for between two to four people or she makes miniature versions of cakes, tarts, breads and other desserts. There are also recipes for smaller batches of baked goods (like cookies and scones).

I get discouraged when I want to make a dessert for just the two of us or to write an article and I have to either make the entire recipe or attempt to cut it down.  Most of the time, it is successful, but I am concerned when it involves baking. Baking is really a science and it doesn’t take but a simple error (in amounts, temperature or altitude) to have things not turn out as they should.

Debby has done the work for you the in this cookbook.  I guess she knows a thing or two about this baking science since she is also the author of Small-Batch Baking.  The Salted Chocolate Caramel Tarts that I made from this cookbook could not have turned out better.  The measurements created beautiful, buttery tart crusts and the fillings perfectly filled the pans.  I have made some cakes from regular recipes that were out of well-known sources that have been a disaster, so I was very impressed with the precision of this recipe.

Roll out the 2 pastry disks to 6-inch circles

Place the disks over the tart pans and press the dough into the pans

The combination of dark chocolate ganache, gooey caramel and hazelnuts in a rich flaky pastry with a touch of sea salt will have you doing a happy dance all day long!  There was an explosion of total decadence in your mouth when all of the elements came together.  Of course, the little touch of Bourbon Whipped Cream added another wonderful level of flavor to the dessert.  Be sure to serve the tarts at room temperature for the best results. Sorry neighbors…no sharing this time! 😉

Prick the dough and place in the freezer for 15 minutes

Press aluminum foil into the tart shells

Fill them with pie weights or dried beans before baking

I look forward to referring to this cookbook frequently since Mr. Bunkycooks and I don’t need any more sweets leftover in the house after a small gathering or a romantic dinner for two.  It’s also nice to be able to make just a few muffins or cookies to satisfy your innermost chocolate craving without overindulging!

Divide the caramel mixture between the two baked tart shells

Sprinkle with chopped nuts and then place in the refrigerator until cooled

There is just enough for two!

I am excited to be able to offer a copy of Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers to one of my readers.  If you do not win this cookbook, I strongly suggest that you purchase a copy and add it to your own cookbook collection.

The recipe was precise to just fill the two tarts perfectly

Here is how you enter:


Regretfully, this cookbook can only be shipped to a winner in the U.S.  or Canada.  I apologize to my readers that are overseas.

Leave me a comment telling me what your plans are for the Memorial Day weekend.

Extra Entries:
Here are four additional ways that you can enter.

1. Follow @bunkycooks on Twitter. Leave a comment here indicating that you are now a follower. If you are already a follower, you can leave a comment saying you are.

2. Follow @smallbatchbakin on Twitter.  Leave a comment here indicating that you are now a follower. If you are already a follower, you can leave a comment saying you are.

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4. Subscribe to Bunkycooks by RSS feed or email. Leave a comment saying you are now a subscriber. If you are already a subscriber, you can leave a comment saying you are.

*** Please be sure to leave separate comments! I will count one comment as one entry. Thank you!

The more times you leave a comment, the more chances you have to win!  I will be using to pick the winner.

This giveaway ends at 5 pm EST on Friday June 3rd, 2011.

I will notify the winner by email. Please get back to me with your shipping information within 48 hours or I will choose another winner.

Good luck and enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!


Salted Chocolate Caramel Tarts


For Rich Sweet Pastry:
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ice water, plus additional if needed
Softened butter or cooking spray for preparing the tart pans
Additional flour for rolling out the dough

For the tarts:

Caramel filling:
3 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 partially baked Rich Sweet Pastry shells (recipe included), baked in 4 11/2×3/4 -inch tart pans with removable bottoms, still in the pans.
1/4 cup coarsely chopped and toasted hazelnuts, macadamia nuts or almonds (I used hazelnuts)

3 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon hot water

Maldon sea salt crystals or other coarse sea salt for garnish


For Rich Sweet Pastry:
Place the egg yolk in a small cup, and beat it lightly with a fork. Measure out 2 teaspoons. Set aside the 2 teaspoons yolk for the pastry and save the rest for another use.

Sift the confectioners’ sugar, flour and salt into a food processor bowl. Add the butter, 2 teaspoons egg yolk, and water to the bowl; cover and pulse, using on/off turns, until the dough just begins to clump together adding additional ice water if the dough is dry.

Turn the dough out on a piece of plastic wrap and divide in half. Shape each half of the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter or mist with cooking spray, two 4 x 4 1/2-inch tart pans. Place the tart pans on a baking sheet for easier handling and set aside.

Roll out each disk of pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 6-inch round. Fit each pastry circle into a prepared tat pan, pressing it into the bottom edges and up and along the sides. Tuck the overhang to the inside of the pans for extra reinforcement, gently pressing the pastry into the grooves of the pan sides.

Pierce the bottom of the pastry all over with the tines of a fork. Place the pastry shells on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Line the pastry shells with aluminum foil, pressing it into the corners and edges, and fill with pie weights, rice, or dried beans. Place the tart pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and carefully remove the foil and pie weights. Return the baking sheet of muffin pan to the oven.

For partially baked crusts, bake until the crusts are just dry and set, about 5 minutes.

For fully baked crusts, bake until they are light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

For tarts:

Prepare the filling: Place the cream and the butter in a small, microwave safe bowl; microwave on high power until simmering, about 15 seconds. Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar melts. Boil, uncovered, until the mixture is caramel-colored. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the hot cream mixture with a long-handled whisk. (Mixture will splatter; pour hot cream mixture in slowly.) Whisk in the vanilla. Pour into the pastry shells. Sprinkle with the nuts, dividing them evenly between the two tarts. Let cool completely in the refrigerator.

Prepare the ganache: place the cream and corn syrup in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high power until simmering, about 25 seconds. Stir in the chocolate until smooth. Stir in the hot water until blended. Pour over caramel in tarts, dividing evenly. Let stand until chocolate iss et, about 1 hour. Sprinkle lightly with coarse Maldon or other sea salt.

* Be sure to serve these tarts at room temperature for the best flavor.

Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers
Debby Maugans