Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Set aside.
Place two-thirds of the bag of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 15-30 seconds intervals, stirring each time, until chips are completely melted. This will take about 2 minutes total, but watch carefully the last 45 seconds. (If using a thermometer to take temperature it should read 110-115ºF / 43-48ºC)
Add the remaining one-third of the bag of chocolate and stir to combine and melt. Continue to stir until all the chocolate is melted, smooth, and glossy. Don't be tempted to put it back in the microwave to finish melting added chips. Let it sit a minute and stir again. It will eventually melt from the residual heat. (If using thermometer to take temperature it should read 88-90ºF / 31-33ºC )
Pour melted chocolate on prepared baking sheet, RESERVING 2-3 TABLESPOONS TO DRIZZLE ON TOP. Use an offset spatula to spread chocolate to about 1/4" thick. Set aside while melting caramel.
Place unwrapped caramels and milk in another microwave safe bowl. Melt on high in 30 second intervals until mixture is hot throughout, but caramels are about 50% melted. Remove for microwave and stir until smooth and caramels fully melt. This will take up to a minute of stirring. Drizzle caramel over chocolate layer. (CHOCOLATE DOES NOT NEED TO BE SET BEFORE DRIZZLING ON CARAMEL)
Immediately sprinkle with chopped pecans and drizzle with remaining chocolate (can reheat chocolate for a bit it has started to harden). Sprinkle drizzled chocolate with fleur de sel or course sea salt.
Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or until set. Do not break into pieces until chocolate is completely set. Remove from refrigerator to serve and store or caramel will become hard.
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OTHER TIPS FOR MAKING CHOCOLATE BARK
Make sure all your equipment is absolutely dry and free from any water droplets, otherwise your chocolate will seize and be grainy.
Properly tempered chocolate will start to harden around the edges almost immediately.
Be sure to spread the chocolate thinly, about 1/4″ thick. Using an offset spatula helps with getting the job done quickly and evenly.
If your chocolate hardens, simply reheat using either technique for tempering chocolate, and use again.
Don’t forget to line baking sheets with wax paper or parchment before spreading on melted chocolate.
Have toppings ready to sprinkle onto melted chocolate. If the chocolate is starting to harden, press gently on the toppings to work into chocolate.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes immediately after adding the toppings to set the chocolate.
Don’t handle the bark to break into pieces until it’s fully hardened. Otherwise you’ll leave smudges or fingerprints on the chocolate.