THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE! Each December seems to come more and more quickly, but I can’t complain because like many people, this is my favorite time of the year. As I was running through the neighborhood this afternoon, I spotted at least a dozen families putting up outdoor Christmas lights and as the sun started to set, I could catch a glimpse of the majestic lit trees indoors. And don’t even get me started on those festive Starbucks cups… They’re just so danggg cute!
Adileh recently introduced me to these chocolate peppermint waffle chips from Trader Joe’s. I had intended on replicating them, home-made style. However, I got some blood drawn this morning for my annual physical. Two measly vials reduced me to sweats and nausea, to the point where the technician had to give me some Dum Dum lollipops. “Mango and blueberry for you!” (as I die of embarrassment). So needless to say, I didn’t feel like doing anything too fancy. I walked through Shop-Rite, spotted some salt-less mini pretzels and boom- it was settled. I would have a bake-free afternoon. I had intended on making chocolate dipped pretzels for awhile now anyway.
This is a great recipe with kids. It’s non-baking with minimal ingredients (not to mention butter-free and relatively healthy compared to cookies and cakes). All you would need to do is set up stations of melted chocolate and toppings and have the kids dipping away.
Chocolate Covered Pretzels for the Holidays
- Chocolate chips (any kind, although I prefer dark chocolate because it contrasts the sweetness from the toppings)
- Candy canes
- Fleur de Sel
- Any other toppings you desire
Unfortunately, I can’t claim originality for this, not that it takes a genius to think of this. Alice from Savory Sweet Life has a fabulous post on her candy cane chocolate covered pretzels that she made with her kids. Really worth checking out. You can basically take her recipe and apply it to any topping.
In a bowl, microwave the chocolate chips. Be sure to do it in 15-30 second cycles. If you overheat the chocolate, there is no returning. It will clump up and actually dry out. The way to prevent this disaster is to constantly stir for 2-3 seconds after each cycle. Typically, when you see a few lumps of nearly-melted chocolate chips, you’re actually done. Just keep on stirring and those lumps will magically disappear. Take pretzels and dip them in chocolate first, then in crushed candy canes. Place each pretzel on wax or parchment paper and allow to dry. You can use any kind of nuts (grind them like the candy canes as described below). I find that nuts + a bit of salt = extra oomph. Or, you can just go with chocolate + salt. Still delicious.
To crush the candy canes, you have two options.
1) Break up the canes with your hands and put them in between two sheets of parchment paper (be sure to fold the sides to seal) or in a zip-lock bag. Then use a mallet and crush away. Problem with this method is that you may be left with big chunks that you don’t want to use when dipping.
2) Use a machine to do the work for you. FOOD PROCESSOR! No further explanation needed.
I would recommend going with the food processor if you have one. It’s quicker, it’s cleaner, and you get a powder fine version of the crushed canes. You may think that the bigger chunks look prettier, but today as I chomped down on one with ultra-big chunks, I thought I nearly took off a tooth. Lesson learned.