Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oddess Bites: Schmancy Pretzels

I love making things for the boys' birthday parties.  So much so that we've decided to celebrate every other year for each kid.  Ethan will get his odd number birthdays and Alex will get the even ones.  Why would I do this right after I mention how much I love the parties?  Because even when you go homemade, it gets expensive to host a good party twice a year.  Especially when the parties are so close together.  That being said, I decided I wanted a little extra sweet thing in addition to the birthday cake.  I was inspired by my neighbor and very good friend who I'll call Q.  Q had a big ol' barrel of pretzel rods on her counter the other day when the boys and I went over to play.  I gave her the puppy eyes and asked for one.  She looked at me like I was crazy and said "No, you can't have a pretel stick."  I grinned and took one anyway, because that's how we roll.  Ever since then, I've been thinking about that silly salty little pleasure.  I also obsessed about how I've seen them dipped in chocolate and rolled in yummy things.  So I decided to make my own, and this is how I did it.


One giant bag of semi-sweet or milk chocolate morsels
One giant bag of white chocolate morsels
A giant tub of pretzel rods
Sprinkles of some sort
Mini M&Ms

Why giant bags of things?  Because I snack on said morsels.  If I didn't get the giant bags I would have little left for making the pretzels.  I'm a glutton, what can I say?  As for the mini M&Ms, they are heavy enough to fall off the chocolate so I'm pretty sure full sized M&Ms would be an exercise in futility.  So step one:  Melt one kind of morsels in a mug.  I like using microwave safe mugs because the handle generally stays cool.  I nuke for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between sessions until the chocolate stirs smooth.  Don't get it too hot or the fixin's won't stick and the chocolate will run off.  While you let the melted morsels cool just a bit, pour your sprinkles in a bowl.  I used colored sugar in red + yellow and blue + green to keep with the primary colors of Ethan's party.  Keep in mind that if you use sugars or anything that is somewhat translucent you'll need to use white chocolate so you can really see the color. Tip mug at a 45 degree angle and spin pretzel in the chocolate.

Before you pull the pretzel out, let it lean a bit on the edge of the cup and keep spinning to slough off a bit of chocolate without scraping or leaving bald spots.  Then holding the pretzel vertically over the bowl of sprinkles, pinch some up and dust them over the chocolate.  Can you roll them on wax paper instead?  Sure.  But I was dealing with the chaos of my older son while doing this, so the idea of sugar on a flat surface near the edge of a counter was tres scary.

After getting the chocolate nice and covered, place the pretzel on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Make sure it's one that fits in your fridge before you put your freshly decorated pretzels on it!  When you're all done dipping, spinning, sprinkling and placing, stick 'em in the fridge.

Now on to the M&M covered ones.  This was a trickier business.  My thought was; melt, stir, spin, roll, place, fridge.  And it was almost that easy.  Not quite though.  I used milk chocolate in deference so my mom who has expressed a preference for it.  I melted the morsels just as I did above and stirred.  This time as it cooled I put a piece of wax paper on the counter and put the minis on it.  It was a much safer prospect at this point because Mr.-"just two (thousand) more pieces of candy"-Alex was now snoozing away for his nap.  And while I'm sure Ethan would just love some chocolate, he can't reach that high yet.  I dipped, swirled and tried to roll the pretzel in the candies.  Not. So. Much.  The candies wanted to roll off and leave little globs of chocolate with them.  I figured out that you set the pretzel in the bits, lift it off, turn it a bit, then place it down again.  Repeat until the pretzel is covered.  

You'll still have fallout and they'll probably not be as pretty as the professionally made ones.  But that's why they charge the big bucks and I'm at home making my own.  I'm betting they'll taste just fine though.  You'll need to stick these in the fridge as well.  For display, I plan on putting a second package of minis in a glass bowl and sticking the rods, chocolate side up, down in the candies like a flower arrangement.  I'll let you know how it worked out when I write next time.

1 comment:

  1. I love chocolate dipped pretzels, but I hate making them because I hate to clean-up after myself and the chocolate dipping never goes easy as I try to roll the ends in a pot. You however have opened my eyes to an easier method with a mug. Why wouldn't I have thought of this. One dip and done. As lazy as I can be you think I'd be a little more ingenious. I really like the idea of the display. Hope the M & M's can keep them up.


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