Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart
Buttery shortbread crust with rich salted caramel and dark chocolate glaze. This caramel chocolate tart is like a Twix bar, in tart form!
*Originally published October 19, 2018. Updated January 4, 2020.*
Ever since I shared my favorite tart crust recipe a few weeks ago, I’ve been itching to make this salted caramel chocolate tart!
I love making tarts because they are just so pretty. They’re similar to a pie, but the pastry is actually way easier to make. And tarts always slice up so beautifully!
There are quite a few tart recipes on this site that I really love, especially for fall. Check out this Salted Honey Nut Tart, these Pumpkin Meringue Tarts, and this Snickers Blondie Tart, and you’ll see what I mean.
But today it’s all about the caramel and chocolate!
Table of Contents
- What is a salted caramel chocolate tart?
- What’s great about this recipe
- What does it taste like?
- Special equipment
- How to make this caramel chocolate tart recipe
- Expert tips
- A few more of my favorite tart recipes
What is a salted caramel chocolate tart?
This tart is like a grown-up candy bar. There’s the tender shortbread bottom, with gooey caramel filling, coated with a deep, dark, smooth chocolate glaze that is pure decadence!
It’s elegant as all get out, but still so approachable and so darn good! I don’t care if you’re in an evening gown or your yoga pants, this salted caramel tart is perfect for any occasion!
What’s great about this recipe
- Tastes amazing: Caramel, chocolate, and shortbread is a classic combination!
- Few ingredients: Just a handful of basic pantry staples.
- Easy to make: Take it step by step and you’ll have no trouble.
- Impressive: Effortlessly elegant!
What does it taste like?
If you’ve ever had millionaire’s shortbread, this will seem very familiar to you!
It’s a layer of buttery, crumbly shortbread, blanketed with rich, toasty caramel and topped with a dark chocolate glaze.
Very similar to the Twix candy bar, but with dark chocolate instead. YUM!
Tart crust dough: I have a whole separate post dedicated to this recipe! It’s quick and easy to make and it bakes up beautifully every time. Check it out here: Perfect Tart Crust Recipe.
Sugar: Regular white sugar will be cooked until amber brown and toasty, to create the decadent caramel filling.
Corn syrup: This ingredient is optional, but it’s there to prevent the caramel from crystallizing and seizing up as it cooks. You’ll also stir it into the chocolate glaze to give it a gorgeous sheen. Know that corn syrup is not the same thing as high-fructose corn syrup. I use light corn syrup, but if you only have the dark kind, it will work just as well.
Water: To dissolve the sugar for the caramel.
Cream: You’ll need heavy whipping cream for both the caramel and the chocolate glaze. If you live outside the US, you may know this product as “double cream.”
Butter: This ingredient adds a richer flavor to the caramel. I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result.
Salt: Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste overly salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful! I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine which can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store.
Vanilla: Vanilla extract adds a subtly sweet flavor without being at all sugary. For a more pronounced flavor, try using vanilla bean paste. You could also split a vanilla bean down the center lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add those.
Chocolate: Use chopped up baking bars or premium quality chips for the best result. For what you see here, I used semi-sweet chocolate, but you can use any kind you like: milk chocolate, white chocolate, etc.
- Measuring cups and spoons: It’s really important that everything is measured accurately. Follow this guide: How to Measure Ingredients for Baking.
- Food processor: To make the tart dough.
- Rolling pin: With which to roll out the crust.
- Tart pan: A 9-inch diameter tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Pots: Two heavy-bottomed pots, one small and one medium. The small pot is for heating the cream and the medium one is for caramelizing the sugar.
- Whisk: To ensure a smooth, lump-free filling.
- Digital thermometer: We will be cooking the caramel to a specific temperature, so that it cools to a firm consistency.
- Small bowl: In which to mix up the chocolate glaze.
- Silicone spatula: Helps get every drop out of the bowl.
How to make this caramel chocolate tart recipe
This tart recipe is as simple as pouring a rich, buttery caramel into a pre-baked tart crust, and topping it with a silky chocolate glaze.
Step 1: Make the crust
Pulse flour, powdered sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Then process an egg yolk, some cream, and vanilla in on low speed until the dough gathers itself into a ball.
Chill for one hour in the fridge, then roll it out to about an inch bigger than your tart pan.
Ease it in, and bake it until set and golden around the edges.
For lots more info, click here: Perfect Tart Crust Recipe.
Step 2: Make the caramel
Start by heating the cream, butter, and salt in a small pot over a low flame, until steamy.
While that’s going, place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in the larger pot over medium heat. Allow everything to melt to a clear syrup, swirling the pot gently every so often to make sure it’s cooking evenly.
After a little while, this sugar mixture will come to a boil.
Then you’ll notice the bubbles get very small, and it will start to go brown.
Once it gets to a deep amber brown color, remove it from the heat and immediately pour in the hot cream mixture.
This will slow the cooking process so the sugar doesn’t burn.
Whisk vigorously and allow it to foam and bubble up. Be careful! This can cause a terrible burn if you accidentally touch it.
After the caramel has calmed down a bit, place it back over the heat and continue to cook it, whisking, until it hits the 245 degree F mark. This temperature is known as the “firm ball stage.” If you cook it to this temperature, you can rest assured that your filling will set up firm.
As soon as it hits that magic temp, whisk in the vanilla and pour it into the pre-baked tart crust.
Step 3: Make the chocolate glaze
Chop the chocolate and add it to a small bowl, along with the corn syrup.
Heat the cream until steamy, and pour it on top. Allow this to sit for about 5 minutes and soften up the chocolate.
Then stir everything together, along with vanilla, until smooth.
Pour the glaze over the tart, smoothing it out to the edges with your spatula.
Step 4: Cool
You’ll need to give this about 2 hours to cool completely and set up, before slicing into it.
Get more info: All 3 components of this recipe have dedicated posts with lots more information, tips, and tricks. If you have any questions that aren’t covered here, you can probably find the answers by clicking on these links: Perfect Tart Crust Recipe, Salted Caramel Sauce, and Chocolate Glaze.
Pay close attention: Especially when making the caramel! It can go from golden to burnt in a heartbeat. Don’t turn your back, or you could miss the moment!
Use a big enough pot: When you add the cream mixture to the caramelized sugar, it will bubble up a ton! If your pot isn’t large enough to accomodate this, you’ll have a terrible mess on your hands. Not to mention it’s dangerously hot and sticky! Know that the volume of caramel can increase by as much as 4x during this stage.
Don’t stir: Stirring the sugar mixture while it’s cooking can result in crystallization. Instead, just gently swirl the pot every so often, to make sure all the sugar dissolves and cooks evenly.
Add the vanilla off the heat: The flavor compounds in vanilla extract are very volatile. They can completely disappear if they get too hot! When cooking, add vanilla in off the heat, to preserve its flavor as much as possible.
Garnish with top-quality sea salt: This is optional, but I love the way a little sprinkling of extra salt gives this tart added sparkle. Kosher salt is fine in the filling, but a fancy finishing salt is perfect for this garnish. Look for flaky sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, Celtic grey salt, Hawaiian black lava salt, or Maldon sel de mer.
The longer you boil the caramel (after the cream has gone in) the stiffer it will be once cooled.
If you were to whisk in the cream and then take it right off the heat, you would have caramel sauce.
Cook it a little longer, and you’ll have a soft candy. Even longer, and you’ll have a hard candy.
No matter what, it all LOOKS the same in the pot as it’s cooking. It’s what happens after it’s cooled that will be different.
Because every burner is different in terms of how hot it is at what setting, there’s really only one true way to know when your caramel filling is done. And that’s to use a candy thermometer.
Luckily you can buy them just about anywhere, and they aren’t very expensive. If you’d like to order one online, here’s a link to one that is very similar to what you’ll see me using in the video below: candy thermometer. It’s great for making any kind of candy, and it works well for deep frying too!
Because we want this caramel to set firm, you are going to cook it until it reaches 245 degrees F. This is right in between the soft ball stage and the firm ball stage.
Just be sure to pour the hot caramel into the tart shell right away! If you leave it sitting in the pot too long, it will continue to cook because of the heat the pot is retaining. And then you could end up with a hard candy filling that you won’t be able to slice into!
For this type of dessert, I love a tender, buttery, shortbread-like tart crust.
You can learn ALL about my favorite recipe here: Perfect Tart Crust Recipe.
I didn’t show the crust being made in the video below, but if you want to see that, click the link above. There’s a video within the recipe card.
This tart recipe has several components: the crust, the caramel, and the chocolate ganache, so it’s a good idea to make it ahead if you can.
The tart crust can be made a few days in advance. Just keep it in the fridge or freezer, tightly wrapped, and thaw it at room temperature when you’re ready to assemble the tart.
The caramel filling is best poured into the crust while it’s still hot. Once it’s gone in, you want to give it at least an hour to cool and firm up before topping it with the chocolate ganache.
The glaze will also need a bit of time to set up, so be sure to allow yourself the time you need so everything is ready to slice when the time comes!
The assembled tart can be kept at room temperature (lightly covered) for several days. Even though it contains lots of dairy, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated because the sugar content is high enough to inhibit the growth of bacteria. It’s like a candy bar!
But, you may notice that once the tart has been cut into, the caramel filling will slowly spread out the sides. (Especially if you didn’t quite hit the 245-degree temperature!) So, it’s probably a good idea to keep any leftovers in the fridge, just to keep things together a little more solidly.
This caramel chocolate tart will last about 2 weeks, refrigerated.
Cut this tart into 8 equal slices, and one slice will be a serving.
The nutritional info in the recipe card below reflects a serving size of 1/8th the whole tart.
Next time you really want to treat yourself to something sweet and yummy, give this salted caramel chocolate tart a try! It’s like your favorite Twix candy bar, all grown up!
A few more of my favorite tart recipes
This post contains affiliate sales links.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache Tart
For the Tart Crust
For the Salted Caramel Filling
For the Chocolate Glaze
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
To make the Tart Crust:
- Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse in the butter, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla, and process until the dough gathers itself into a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8-inch, and press it gently into a 9-inch diameter tart pan, trimming away any excess.
- Bake the tart shell for 18 to 22 minutes, or until completely set and beginning to turn golden brown around the edges.
- Fill with salted caramel and chocolate glaze, and garnish with flaky sea salt.
To make the Salted Caramel Filling:
- In a small pot, gently heat the cream, butter, and salt until the butter has melted and the salt has completely dissolved.
- In a larger pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.
- Cook over medium heat, swirling the pot occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.
- Continue to boil the sugar mixture until the bubbles begin to get smaller and it becomes amber-colored.
- Reduce the heat to low, and pour in the warm cream mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps or crystals.
- Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, and continue to simmer the caramel (whisking) until it reaches 245 degrees F.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
- Immediately pour the hot caramel into the prepared crust.
To make the Chocolate Glaze:
- Place the chocolate in a small bowl and add the cream.
- Warm the cream in the microwave (in 30 second increments) or over a double boiler, until the cream is hot and steamy.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Stir the vanilla into the ganache until smooth and glossy, and pour over the cooled caramel.
- Allow the ganache to set, then garnish with flaky sea salt.