Salty Sweet

With food trends changing just as fast as the weather, it’s hard to keep up with the latest craze. One thing that remains consistent is the desire to satisfy all taste buds. There are those whose sweet-tooth takes center stage while others gravitate toward salt. Still others can’t make up their minds, bringing us to a genre of treats that is growing in popularity every day — salty-sweet. Salty-sweet snacks satisfy both cravings at once!

The simplest salty-sweet snacks are chocolate-coated pretzels or potato chips. You can make them easily at home by melting chocolate and dipping your favorite salty snacks. For more sophisticated snacks and desserts, try one of our recipes below.

Chocolate Salt & Pepper Cookies

The most refined and complex of our recipes; salt and pepper enhance cocoa’s natural depth of flavor.

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 sticks margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cayenne and sea salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the margarine with both sugars at low speed until creamy. Add the egg yolk and beat until smooth, then add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the wax paper–covered disks onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until very firm.

Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper and cut out the cookies as close together as possible, using a 1½-inch round cookie cutter. Arrange the cookies about 1 inch apart on the parchment paper–lined baking sheets and sprinkle with some sea salt.

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until they are just firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Salted Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Sweet, salty and crumbly — what more could you ask for!

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) margarine, at room temperature + 2 Tbs. (for chocolate filling)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest from 1 small lemon
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 2 tsp. light corn syrup
  • sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine lemon zest with sugar. With the tips of your fingers, rub the zest and sugar together until they’re well integrated.

Combine the butter and sugar-zest mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat them together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of your bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat for a few more seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the flour a little at a time. Beat until just incorporated into the dough — don’t overmix.

Scoop teaspoon-sized balls of dough and roll them to form small balls. Place the balls about 2” apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

Bake about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are only slightly colored around the edges.

When done, remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the cookies to cooling racks.

Using a double boiler or a small heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine chocolate, 2 tablespoons margarine and corn syrup. Stir until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. When cookies are cool, fill the thumbprints with the chocolate, and then sprinkle with sea salt. Allow about an hour for the chocolate centers to set.

Salted Caramel Rice Krispies Treats

This grown-up version of the popular rice krispies treat will satisfy the adults who are looking for a salty-sweet-caramelly dessert!

  • 14 caramel candies (like Arcor)
  • 1 tsp. heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. marshmallow fluff
  • 3½ cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1 cup chopped Viennese Crunch

Lightly spray a 9×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the caramel candies and cream or milk. Stir until completely melted. Add the sea salt. Leave on low heat while you prepare the rest.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the marshmallow fluff and stir until fully melted into the butter. Add in the cereal and stir until the cereal is fully coated. Gently fold in the salted caramel sauce and the Viennese Crunch chunks until just combined. You do not want the chocolate to melt completely or you will have completely chocolate treats, overpowering the salted caramel sauce.

Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and gently spread out evenly. Allow to cool on the counter for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container to retain softness.