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Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart | www.tasteandtellblog.com

I think the kitchen gods were against me. Or maybe it was because I waited until the last possible moment to make this month’s challenge, but it did not work out for me. I’ve always been one to believe that anyone can cook – all it takes is following some instructions in a recipe. I have been proven wrong!!

This month’s challenge is a Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart, chosen by Veronica and Patricia. I was really excited to see this challenge – it sounded like the perfect combination to me. I am a true American – I love milk chocolate. It seems like once you get away from America, everyone prefers dark chocolate, but I grew up on milk chocolate and love it. And caramel? What’s not to love???

Well, my problems started with the crust. I broke the one rule of the Daring Bakers – YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE RECIPE. Believe me, I didn’t even realize I broke that rule until the next day, and really, I didn’t drastically change anything. I had actually printed out the recipe while at work one day last week. I had planned on making the crust on Sunday and then finishing up on Monday. Well, on Sunday, I realized that I had forgotten my printed copy of the recipe at work. No big deal, I just went online to get the recipe again. I didn’t want to print out the whole thing again, so I just made some quick notes on a post-it note and headed into the kitchen. Everything went together pretty easily – I used my blender the ground the hazelnuts, and since I don’t have a food processor, I put the rest of it together in my mixer. I was afraid of over mixing, so once it barely started to come together, I took it out, formed it into a ball, and into the fridge it went. Well, the next day, I was thinking about it, and the thought came to my head – “I know there is cake flour in this recipe, but it’s not in the caramel layer, and it’s not in the chocolate layer…..hmmmm….” Well, as I suspected, I forgot to use cake flour, but used all purpose instead, because I had just written “flour” on my post-it note. See, not too big of a deviation, and I’m not sure if it affected the overall taste of the tart or not.

Next day, I went to start, and took my crust out of the fridge. It was as hard as a rock!!! I was so afraid that it was ruined, but I put it out on the counter for a bit, and after 45 minutes, it was still pretty hard. It was already getting late, so I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power, and it came out perfectly! I knew that some had problems rolling the crust, so I decided to roll it between 2 sheets of waxed paper – like I do for pie crust. I wasn’t quite sure what pan to use – my tart pan is too shallow, and I didn’t want to use a pie dish, so I opted for a springform pan. All was well until I went to put the rolled crust in the pan – the bottom made it ok, but not the sides. I ended up piecing the sides on, and then cutting around the top to make it even. Into the oven it went, weighted by a sheet of parchement paper and some beans. It looked pretty good when it came out – I was surprised.

I started on the caramel. I tried to make caramel about a month ago, and it wasn’t a huge success, but it wasn’t a failure either, so I figured I could probably handle it. I decided to use the allowed modification of doing the caramel with sugar, water and corn starch. Well, it all worked out ok, except I think I over-cooked it a bit, because it did taste a little burnt. I would have started over, but again, I was a procrastinator! I put it in the oven and took it out 15 minutes later, but it was still VERY liquidy. I would have put it back in the oven, but I wanted to follow directions, so I pushed away the voice in my head and let it cool. It still had not firmed up at all, so I put it in the fridge and started on the chocolate mousse.

DISASTER. Even if the other 2 components weren’t perfect, at least they kind of worked for me. I first put the cream in the mixer to beat until stiff, but stepped away for too long and came back to what looked like lumpy butter and some liquid. Oops. So I started again, and paid attention this time. I melted my chocolate, and then went to fold the two together – I got a lumpy mess. The chocolate had separated and the mixture was not smooth at all. I was so frustrated by this time, I decided to just go with it. But when I put a spoonful of the mousse on the caramel layer, it started to sink. Oh, great, just what I need. I decided to wait until the next day, try the chocolate layer again, as I still had 1/2 pound of chocolate left, and give the caramel layer a day to firm up. So I get home from work the next day, and with renewed confidence, I start the cream and chocolate again. The exact same thing happened!!! If anyone can tell me what I am doing wrong, it would be much appreciated! I had no more cream and no more chocolate, so this was going on the tart. At least the caramel layer had semi firmed up…..

**UPDATE – I think I know what went wrong. I was reading Erin’s post, and the same thing happened to her, because her chocolate was TOO COOL!!! Makes sense – and here I was afraid of it being too warm, but I KNOW it wasn’t too warm – it actually felt room temperature to me….

My husband is working tonight, so after I made myself a quick dinner, I took some pictures of the tart and tried it out for myself. Hmmmm, I really like the idea of this, but I did not execute it well. The caramel layer was not as pronounced as I hoped it would be, (at least I couldn’t taste that it was a bit burned!) and the texture of the chocolate mousse was, hmmm, interesting. Not really what would go on top of a tart!! The crust was a bit strong – and I even cut back on the cinnamon. Maybe it was because I used all purpose flour, but it tasted strongly of flour. I would like to try the idea of this sometime, but pull some different recipes in for the different layers. I’m guessing this was mostly baker’s error, though!!!

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart | www.tasteandtellblog.com


  • I love chocolate, I love caramel – I really think the flavors go well together
  • I got to try making caramel again, and maybe next time it will be a total success!
  • I actually did my decorations with the dry sugar method – and although that took me 3 tries, I finally got it right!


  • The flavors didn’t blend together very well for me. I didn’t taste 3 distinct layers
  • The mousse. Disaster.
  • The crust was too strong. I think it needed something a little more neutral.

I just talked to my husband and told him to eat all he wants when he gets home. Even if this tasted really good, I probably would not be taking the leftovers anywhere because I’m embarrassed about how ugly it is!! In fact, I probably wouldn’t even post pictures here, but this group is about learning, and what a learning experience this was!! (I will not be procrastinating next month – just so I have time to re-do the challenge if I need to!!)

Again, I am including a slide show with crappy photos that were taken on automatic. But it’s fun to see the process!!

(Now that am looking at these final photos, my chocolate mousse almost looks like dog food – maybe that’s why I didn’t like it!!)

To see how this is really supposed to be done, visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll where you will find links to the other members of the Daring Bakers. I’m sure the rest of them got it right!! Oh, and the recipe can be found here or here.

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53 Responses to Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart {The Daring Bakers}

  1. Ilva says:

    Oh how I recognize my own frantic baking today when I read your post!Fight on Deborah!

  2. veron says:

    I love the oozy caramel actually. Makes it look very tempting! When folding in cream and melted chocolate together, you need to let the chocolate cool down until you can comfortably touch it to your upper lip.

  3. Deborah says:

    Veron – I triple checked to make sure the chocolate was not too hot – it was barely even warm when I went to incorporate it. Maybe I had a bad batch of chocolate? (Is there such thing?)

  4. Janet says:

    Deborah – I think yours looks great. Mine looks OK in my pictures, but that is only because I CHEATED and froze it.

  5. kellypea says:

    I dunno…that oozing caramel looks pretty darn good — I’ve seen it in a few photos elsewhere. Drool.

    And I agree that the layers didn’t have a distinct taste. Good analysis on that one. I was tempted to throw a bunch of nuts in the caramel so there would be more of a crunch beyond the crust. You sound like I felt after the St. Honore Gateau. Gads. Freeze it and eat it like an ice cream treat. YUM!

  6. veron says:

    Deborah, the chocolate has also to be warm a little so it will be fluid enough to mix with the whipped cream. It’s balancing act i guess. Just try the warm to touch the top lips method. That’s the ideal temperature to incorporate the cream.

  7. Brilynn says:

    Your caramel looks wonderfully gooey, even if the mousse didn’t turn out to your liking.

  8. Rose says:

    It always happens to me. I start baking before reading the recipe entirely. Still it looks good with the gooey caramel

  9. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, I was gonna tell you exactly what Veron did – but that doesn’t seem to be the problem.

    Just so you know it, that creamy and oozing caramel has gotten my mouth full of water – I wish I could have some right now!

  10. sher says:

    We are always too hard ojn ourselves! Your tart does not look like dog food–or are your using really nice dog food! LOL!! I had many of your experiences. My caramel layer was runny too, but I think of it as a sauce! ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved your post!

  11. Marce says:

    Congrats on completing your first challenge. The caramel looks amazing, as for the mouse, i have no idea what went wrong, but if i were you, iยดd use a traditional mousse recipe with beaten egg whites and stuff, which is a bit fluffier and shouldnยดt give you any trouble.

  12. Meeta says:

    I love the gooey caramel. Deborah you did a great job on the challenge even with the rough bits – well done.

  13. Baking Soda says:

    I’m so sorry! You worked so hard and now..don’t be too hard on yourself, you did it and delivered! Way to go!!!
    IMHO: nothing wrong with oozing caramel..just hand me a spoon

  14. Kelly-Jane says:

    I like the gooey caramel too, I felt I wanted something ‘wet’ with mine.

    It’s a shame you didn’t like it after all that ๐Ÿ™‚ but you did it sweetie, another DB challenge under your belt =)

  15. Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen says:

    Well done! I also had problems with the chocolate mousse.

  16. Mary says:

    I’m always last minute when it comes to the DB challenges so I understand how stressful it can be when things go wrong and you’re running out of time.

    All bakers at one time or another misread (or miscopied) a recipe. One time I forgot to add sugar to a custard!

  17. Amanda at Little Foodies says:

    Oh Deborah, your words and slide show brought a smile to my face. The caramel looks good and I would have been okay with your mousse until you said it looked like dog food! It was only my second challenge and I did at one point feel that I’d never be a real Daring Baker but I guess it’s about learning and not just doing it right first time, every time.

  18. Katie B. says:

    Don’t worry, its just sleeping. (For some reason, your oozy photo reminded me of my cat)Better luck next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Jen the Bread Freak says:

    I think your caramel looks gorgeous oozing a bit as it is. And that mousse recipe definitely could use some tweaking! Great job ๐Ÿ˜€

  20. Anh says:

    I love your fighting spirit Deborah! And you know, your tart looks really good!

  21. Jann says:

    I think you did an outstanding job-this was quite an assignment!My hat is off to you-

  22. Dharm says:

    The crust looks awesome and so does the caramel. I didn’t particularly like the idea of melting chocolate separately and then mixing into the whipped cream. What you need to do with this kind of thing is to make sure the cream is a little underwhipped and the chocolate fluid but not to warm. An easier method (but going against the recipe) is to bring the cream to boil, pour it over the unmelted chocolate and stir it slowly to let it melt, then let it cool. Once the choc mix is cool, WHIP till it peaks – and you have fabulous Choc Mousse – use that next time and see! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Ivonne says:

    I’m sorry it didn’t work out as well as you wanted … but good for you for giving it a try!

  24. Barbara says:

    I had the same problem trying to roll the pastry after taking it from the fridge. I had my husband put some muscle into it and roll it for me.I do like caramel when it oozes like that.

  25. The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    It still looks tasty though! I think your caramel looks delicious all oozey. I also made the mistake of normal flour, not cake flour, but it worked in the end. Well done!

  26. The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    It still looks tasty though! I think your caramel looks delicious all oozey. I also made the mistake of normal flour, not cake flour, but it worked in the end. Well done!

  27. Anne says:

    the gooey caramel makes it even more better. It looks pretty good to me and not to mention I love how your crust turned out for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Belinda says:

    Deborah, I think you managed to pull off this tart very nicely myself. Even with all of the challenges, it ended up looking really lovely. And I see nothing wrong at all with your gooey caramel. With caramel, that definitely works. ๐Ÿ™‚ You did a great job!

  29. Amy says:

    My mousse was a complete disaster too! Streaks and chunks of chocolate everywhere. I agree that it was too cool when I added it into the whipped cream, it solidified almost instantly. The gooey caramel sounds delicious though.

  30. labelga says:

    I got here thanks to Ilva, and I really admire that you post about things that don’t work out so well. But you tried, and my admiration goes out to all of you who at least participate in the DB challenge. Keep up the fun.

  31. KJ says:

    You made me laugh with the dog food comment. LOL!!!! Congrats for sticking with it and getting a good result.

  32. Inne says:

    sorry you didn’t like this recipe Deborah. Your crust and caramel shards looks really good though.

  33. slush says:

    You crust looks absolutely perfect!!! Great job!! xo

  34. Sara says:

    Oh man, isn’t it frustrating when recipes don’t work? I think you did a great job – and isn’t burnt caramel a very chic flavor?

  35. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    I think you are too hard on yourself! I actually like the way the mousse looks! I think I had a batch of bad chocolate too! What is with that?!?!

  36. Jenny says:

    My mousse looked like that too, but for a different reason – I chilled it overnight instead of putting it directly on the tart. Ah well. That’s why we’re here, to learn!

  37. Tartelette says:

    I maybe the only European to adore milk chocolate…I know I am weird!!
    Great tart in spite of all your issues, it turned out great! Love that oozing caramel !

  38. Lis says:

    Awww we made the identical tart! heeeee! After reading most everyone’s posts (still in the T’s!) I’ve decided that I will make this again and I’ll bake the caramel longer (and double the recipe so I can, you know, have a glass of it with dinner ๐Ÿ˜› )

    I think your tart is very pretty! I love your shards.. I’d be picking them off and eating them like candy! heee!

    I’m so happy you are with us.. I love reading your posts!


  39. Peabody says:

    I had the oozy caramel as well. I didn’t try it again though, I should.
    As long as it tastes good that is all that matters…well done.

  40. Connie says:

    oh man, you win some, you lose some. i think the mouse problem could be heat or humidity. that will just make your next success that much sweeter!

  41. Aoife says:

    Good job for sticking with it! It sounds like you really challenged yourself, and I’m sure you’ll find it easier in the future.

  42. Kirsten says:

    Oh you are SO brave for even trying!!! I think it looks delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are exactly right that the Daring Bakers are about learning, so posting it was great.

  43. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for all the hard work that the rest of us can learn from.

  44. Elle says:

    Love the gooey caramel. My chocolate must have been too cool or hot or something, because I got little tiny streaks on hardened chocolate, but it tasted wonderful anyway.

  45. Arfi Binsted says:

    it looks great!! chocolate and caramel, i can’t resist!

  46. wmpe says:

    Great effort. I love your “dogfood” comment:) I wonder what kind of chocolate you used? I have never seen those circle except for candy making. I like your slide show too. Wendy

  47. Quellia says:

    If you feel you learned something, then you had a successful challenge! And your tart did not look like dog food!
    Great work, not giving up!

  48. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Wow my “crust” did just that: covered the bottom and left the sides open!
    Don’t worry about the oozy, it just makes it more tempting.
    Isn’t it incredible how we all worked with the same recipe (although this one you had to know or fill in the blanks) and as different as they may be, pretty good tarts. It’s a challenge.

  49. Chris says:

    Looks great!

  50. Andrea says:

    I know what you mean about the crust! It gaves me fits. But I do love your gooey caramel…I think caramel is best when it’s all oozy and gooey like that!

    Oh, and I may have to borrow your idea for the slideshow. That’s a cool feature!!

  51. Dolores says:

    I’m with the others… the ooey gooey caramel is… sexy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. Bev and Ollie "O" says:

    oooh well, I think most English people prefer milk chocolate to, I do, and caramel, my fave!

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