This treat hits all the right notes because its salty, crunchy, caramely, chocolatey, AND it travels well! I send these to my friends across the US during the holidays. Don't let the long instructions scare you away from making these delicious treats. I just like to write instructions for every skill level. Enjoy! These won't last long I promise!
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. Spray the paper and the sides of the pan with cooking spray.
In the food processor, combine the graham crackers and sugar. Process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
In a bowl, combine the graham cracker mixture, melted butter, and broken up pretzel sticks and stir until well combined. Then spread the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing gently to form an even layer.
Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the crust is golden. Cool for 15 minutes at room temperature, do not refrigerate.
For the caramel:
While the crust is cooling, combine the heavy cream, butter, brown sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and let the mixture continue to boil. Just swirl the pan every now and then.
Once your mixture reaches 245-250F on a candy thermometer, remove from the heat and pour over the graham cracker crust. Make sure the graham cracker crust is still somewhat warm when you do this, otherwise it will separate later. After you pour the caramel over the graham cracker crust, now you can put it in the fridge to harden for at least an hour.
For the chocolate:
Once you've checked your caramel to ensure it has firmed up, remove from the fridge and let it come to room temp (30 min). Note: When I'm in a hurry I don't let it come to room temp, but I noticed that my chocolate layer falls off sometimes when cutting into small pieces. Letting the caramel come to room temp helps "glue" the caramel and warm chocolate.
Unwrap all of your reeses cups and place the cups in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the cups in the microwave in 15-20 second bursts until the chocolate is very soft but not melted to the point it's soup. You want to soften it just enough that it can be spread (like butter) over your caramel layer. Each microwave is different so take your time and heat the chocolate in short bursts.
Once you've gotten your Reeses cups melted to a thick peanut butter consistency, spread it over the caramel layer and let it firm up in the fridge again.
Note: before serving, let it come to room temp (30 min). It will make cutting into the caramel a LOT easier!
Note: if you don't like pretzels or peanut butter, can omit them. However you really need that salty element, so I suggest you sprinkle some Fleur de sel (or any other finishing salt) over the chocolate while it's still warm.