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Last Christmas, I made chocolate pretzel rods. Done as both Pecan Turtle and Peppermint Bark varieties, they were a big hit. Now, I wondered if I could do a spring version, decorated in flower-like pastels.
The treat was destined for my photography class–which had been virtual all semester but was having one final meeting in person. It was almost a party! Plus I had received some beautiful sprinkles free for review from the Ultimate Baker that I was dying to try.
I love sprinkles because they make treats festive and dressed up for any occasion (red, white and blue for July 4th, etc)! And these sprinkles are colored naturally from sources like red radishes and blue-green spirulina. So I got “cute” without guilt—how good is that! They also have things like colored sugar and luster dust for all your natural decorating needs!
Step by Step Directions
Chocolate dipped pretzel rods are actually quite easy to make.
To start, you chop the chocolate and cocoa butter (if using). If they are in small pieces, they will melt much better.
In a microwave, melt the cocoa butter or coconut oil. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces and microwave in brief bursts, stirring in between until just melted. Ideally keep the temperature of white/milk chocolate to 88F or less and dark to 91F or less (see tips and notes below).
Hold for a few seconds, then set on parchment to dry. There may be some pooling of chocolate on the parchment, but I actually think it make them look more indulgent. For dark or milk chocolate pretzels, I also like to also drizzle with a little pink-dyed white chocolate. I just reheat the leftover bit of white chocolate, add a little color, then drizzle.
Let the chocolate dipped pretzel rods cool in or out of the refrigerator while you prepare caramel. Either melt store bought caramels with just a little water (too much and you’ll get syrup) in the microwave, or make a thick version of my homemade caramel dip.
Immediately after drizzling (while chocolate is still soft), sprinkle with sprinkles and (optional) chopped cashews.
Tips and Notes
Be sure to do some pretzels without nuts for people with allergies.
White chocolate is notoriously prone to seize (going hard and clumpy) if it touches any water, so if you are coloring it, use a gel color like the Wilton (which are really good colors anyway).
I like adding food grade cocoa butter to chocolate that I am using in candy. This makes it more liquid and easier to work with, but it still hardens up nicely. It also enhances the final flavor. In a pinch you can also use solid coconut oil.
On Tempering Chocolate
Tempered chocolate is glossy and crisp while untampered chocolate is duller and soft at room temperature. While a good temper is ideal (and I’ll tell you how below), most home candy makers do not achieve this (most online dipped pretzel recipes don’t either), and no one notices.
In either case, I recommend storing the completed pretzels in the refrigerator when you aren’t serving them. They will be fine while out for a party but otherwise the refrigerator will disguise any imperfections like too soft caramel or untempered chocolate. And real summer, when it arrives, is too hot for ANY chocolate!
I believe the best way to temper chocolate is to keep your chocolate in temper by not getting it too hot. If you can keep white or milk chocolate at or below 88 F and dark chocolate at or below 91 F, the good crystals will remain intact, and it will retain the crispness and gloss of good, tempered chocolate.
To do this, I recommend melting chocolate in the microwave rather than a double boiler. Microwaving allows very controlled bursts and is also less likely overheat your container (which can then overheat your chocolate). I alternate short microwave bursts and stirring, starting at a 15 second burst and ending at 3 second bursts. I check the temperature regularly with an instant read thermometer. (If you have sous vide equipment, this works too)
If you accidentally go above these temperatures, you can still use it–just store the pretzels in the refrigerator like I recommend anyway. (While it is possible to re-temper chocolate this is more difficult, especially in small quantities).
The best part is that even imperfect results are cute, tasty and pretty impressive too! Happy spring!
- 1 1/2 ounces food grade cacao butter, chopped or coconut oil (3T)
- 3 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 ounces dark or milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 10 pretzel rods
- optional red gel food coloring
- 3-4 caramels (or very thick homemade caramel sauce)
- 2-3 Tablespoons chopped cashews
- 2-3 Tablespoons assorted colored sprinkl
Melt 1 ounce cocoa butter (2T) in microwave. Mix in chopped white chocolate, then heat in short bursts, stirring in between. Keep temperature at or below 88F.
Holding pretzel rod over bowl, spoon melted chocolate over pretzel while rotating until all but about 1-2 inches of the end is covered. Hold coated pretzel over bowl for a minute to firm slightly, then lay on parchment (chocolate may pool some which is fine). Repeat with remaining pretzels, then transfer to refrigerator.
Melt remaining cocoa butter in microwave. Mix in chopped milk or dark chocolate, then heat in short bursts, stirring in between. Keep temperature at or below 88F for milk or 91F for dark chocolate
Holding pretzel rod over bowl, spoon melted chocolate over pretzel while rotating until all but about 1-2 inches of the end is covered. Hold coated pretzel over bowl for a minute to firm slightly, then lay on parchment (chocolate will pool some). Repeat with remaining pretzels, then transfer to refrigerator. Optionally reheat any extra white chocolate to 88F and add a tiny dot of red gel dye too make pink chocolate.. Drizzle on dark/milk chocolate pretzels and cool.
Prepare homemade caramel dip or melt caramels with a little water, stirring often. This can be done on the stove or in short bursts in the microwave. When caramel is hot and soft enough to drizzle take the chocolate coated pretzels out the refrigerator. Using a spoon drizzle half the pretzels with caramel and sprinkle with sprinkles and chopped nuts. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
Store in refrigerator until served.
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