Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Mini Tarts
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
These decadent tarts have a buttery shortbread crust filled with a layer of homemade gooey salted caramel and are topped with a layer of rich dark chocolate ganache. Like an elegant version of a Twix, these tarts have a perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors combined with the perfect contrast of soft and crunchy textures for an irresistible dessert.
Makes about 9 3.5-inch mini tarts
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¾ cup salted butter, cold and cubed
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp ice cold water, if needed
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
⅓ cup salted butter, room temperature
¾ cup heavy cream, room temperature
¾ tsp sea salt
12 oz bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray nine 3.5-inch mini tart pans with removable bottoms with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the four and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture resembles pea-sized sand.
Add the egg yolks and vanilla and continue to pulse just until the dough starts to form. If the pastry is too dry, add the water a little bit at a time. (I ended up needing about 1 ½ tablespoons of water.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times until the flour is fully incorporated.
Evenly divide the dough among the prepared tart pans, pressing into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of each pan. Prick the bottoms all over with a fork and trim off any excess dough with a knife. Place the shells on a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.
Line the tarts with parchment paper and fill with ceramic baking weights. Bake the tart shells for about 16-18 minutes, or until the sides just start to brown. Carefully remove the parchment paper and baking weights and bake the shells for another 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the shells to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove the shells from the tart pans.
Heat the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture starts to bubble, stop stirring and allow the mixture to bubble for about 8-10 minutes until dark amber in color and the temperature reaches 340°F. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the butter, cream, and salt. Return the pan to the heat and let boil over medium-high heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the caramel to cool for about 20 minutes.
Once cooled, evenly divide the caramel among the tart shells, using an offset spatula to smooth the caramel into an even layer. (I put about 1.25 ounces of caramel into each tart shell.) Refrigerate the tart shells with the caramel for 1 hour.
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.
Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, pour the cream over the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to sit untouched for about one minute, and then whisk together until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow the chocolate to cool for about 20 minutes.
Pour the chocolate ganache on top of the chilled caramel in the tart shells, filling each one to the top. (I put about 1.25 ounces of chocolate in each tart shell.) Allow the tarts to sit until the chocolate is set, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
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