Every year when making Peanut Butter Balls at Christmas-time, I have copious amounts of leftover melted chocolate sitting in my double boiler just waiting to be put to good use.
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not one to waste perfectly good chocolate.
I get this from my mom who used to pour her leftover melted chocolate over nuts. Somewhere along the line – it may have been after featuring a candy store owner who specialized in making chocolate covered pretzels in my business column – I began making these creations with my leftover chocolate. It’s been a Christmas-time tradition since.
- 1 package Rold Gold Pretzel Rods
- dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips or blocks
- household wax
- 1/2 recipe caramel sauce or melted Kraft caramels (optional)
- pecans, walnuts or cashews (optional)
- vanilla or white chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips (optional)
- vegetable shortening (optional)
- mini M&Ms, Snickers bars, Reese’s pieces, Reese’s peanut butter cups (optional)
- In a double boiler, melt chocolate with a small bit of household wax. (I fill the bottom pot about 1/3 full with water and set the heat to a medium-low simmer.)
- Chop nuts (if using) and place in a shallow bowl. Chop candies such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, etc. (if using) and place shallow bowls.
- If using store-bought caramels: Melt caramels and 2 T. water in a pot on the stove set inside a pan of simmering water. If using homemade caramel sauce , prepare caramel sauce according to directions. Pour into a mason jar or tall glass and let cool slightly.
- If not making caramel-chocolate dipped pretzels, skip to step five. If making caramel-chocolate dipped pretzels: Dip the pretzel rods in the caramel (if necessary use a spoon to scoop the caramel over the pretzel rod). Cover the rod with caramel leaving one or two inches of the rod uncovered. Set on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper sprayed with cooking spray. Freeze.
- After the caramel-covered pretzel rods have cooled, dip into chocolate (or pour the chocolate over the rod with a spoon. Twirl the pretzel rod around lightly to let excess chocolate drip from the rod. Set the rod on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.
- Sprinkle with nuts or candies, if desired. Chill.
- For a ‘fancy’ looking chocolate dipped pretzel, drizzle a contrasting melted chocolate such as white chocolate or milk chocolate on top. (In a small bowl melt white chocolate or milk chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals with a small bit of vegetable shortening until melted.)
- Keep in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Allow pretzels to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before eating.
You can do a ton of variations with chocolate covered pretzels. Caramel-chocolate covered pretzels are by far the trickiest. When dipping the pretzel rods in caramel, the caramel takes a while to solidify. If you’re not patient you can end up with pools of caramel on the sides of your pretzels. This is OK.
You need to freeze the caramel before dipping the pretzel rods in melted chocolate or you run the risk of having the caramel drip off the pretzel and into the melted chocolate. Once frozen, you can manipulate the pooled caramel and wrap it back around the pretzel rod. Additionally, you MUST use cooking spray on your wax paper or your caramel covered pretzel rods will stick.
You can do two or three layers of melted chocolate (milk and dark, milk, dark and white, etc) but I would recommend freezing or at least chilling in between dips.
The key to drizzling chocolate on top is to line all the rods up right next to each other on a sheet of paper and dip a spoon into the drizzle chocolate. Make sure the spoon is only covered in chocolate (not dripping) and then wave the spoon back and forth across the rods. If you dip the spoon into too much chocolate, the chocolate will glob onto the rods.