There are many domestic endeavors at which I fail miserably, primarily, crafting of any sort. I have grandiose plans for making my own decorative benches, creating adorable cloth bowling pin bunnies for the mini- Gwinn and ten thousand other beautiful, simple crafts that, if ever completed, will look like someone gave some fabric to a homeless man to see what he couldn’t do with it. One area at which I succeed, though, is baking. I don’t usually sing my own praises, but for real, I can make a killer homemade pie crust and a yummy, now perfected fruit filling. I make cakes from scratch. Chocolate chip cookies are always, always homemade. What I do isn’t usually pretty, but it is guaranteed to taste good. However, as you can imagine, with a house full of three dogs, a husband and a baby, I don’t always take the time to bake something.
This last week one of my Christmas gifts arrived in our mailbox (a subscription to a wonderful cooking/ baking magazine) with a three page spread on “bake sale” ideas. As a (recent) Meetup organizer for a moms’ group, some of the ideas were perfect finger foods for home party events. Since Captain Laser Pants is still working on both my cars in his spare time, I haven’t really left the house in weeks, and the domestication stir craziness is starting to sink in. The magazine provided the perfect catalyst for a treat storm. I’m sharing what I’ve made (twice now) this weekend with you guys. There’s no baking required, but it certainly does involve a level of commitment of which “break and bake” chefs need to be aware. Start to finish, with no interruptions, this will take around 30 minutes. Aside from the double boiler/ heat/ “don’t touch the stove” aspect of this recipe, it is very kid friendly, complete with rolling stuff in stuff and sprinkles. Who doesn’t love sprinkles? ALSO – these would make awesomely edible Harry Potter wands for a Harry Potter party.
Caramel – Almond – Chocolate – Sprinkle Covered Pretzel Rods (the name still needs some work)
half bag of chocolate chips (semi- sweet or milk chocolate, depending on your sweet tooth)
some caramel (I used homemade caramel that I made a while back, but it takes forever to make. Here’s the recipe: House and Home Amish Caramel If you don’t have time, use store bought caramels)
handful of almonds (plain or raw)
ice cream sprinkles (these won’t dissolve in the chocolate)
Stuff you’ll need:
double boiler (I assembled my ghetto-fied double boiler by putting a pot with water under a skillet)
cooling rack (or something with small holes in which to stand the pretzel rods)
spoon or spatula (the white kind, not the “for eggs and pancakes” kind)
cellophane bags and ribbon (if this is for gifts/ guests/ party treats)
Chop almonds VERY finely – I used our VitaMix to make the almonds almost dust. The bigger the almond pieces, the more likely they are to fall off. Lay out almond bits on a plate, set aside. Cover the cooling rack with aluminum foil; poke holes in the foil every few inches. Heat the double boiler at medium to medium low on the stove. Lightly butter the top part of the double boiler. If you’re using homemade caramel, the consistency is soft, so just plop a few big spoonfuls in the top of the double boiler and let it melt, stirring occasionally. If you’re using store bought caramels, you can unwrap several and follow suit with the double boiler, OR you can unwrap several, put a few teaspoons of water in the bowl, and microwave them until slightly liquidy- gooey. Either roll pretzel rods in the melted caramel or spoon caramel onto the pretzel rod, making sure to leave 2/3 of the pretzel bare. DO NOT cover the pretzel any more than 1/3 of the way down- the warm caramel will drip off the pretzel and you’ll have to start all over. Once a pretzel has caramel on it, roll it in the almond bits until the caramel is covered with almonds. Stand up the pretzel rod on the aluminum foil covered wire rack. Repeat until all pretzel rods are covered in caramel and almonds.
Pour ice cream sprinkles onto plate, set aside. If you have lots of caramel left over after your pretzels are covered, clean out the double boiler. Otherwise, melt chocolate chips in the double boiler at medium low, stirring frequently. Gently spoon chocolate onto caramel/ almond covered portions of pretzel rods. I liked leaving some of the caramel/ almond part exposed- it’s like a pretty petticoat of yummy. Roll chocolate covered pretzel rod in sprinkles until decoratively covered and stand in the wire cooling rack. Let these cool for around 20- 30 minutes before sealing in an airtight container or wrapping them in cellophane bags.
Words of Advice:
Don’t overload the pretzel with caramel, almonds or chocolate. Otherwise it gets drippy, and then it’s not as pretty.
Let it cool completely before packaging. The chocolate needs to harden around the soft caramel.
These are really good, so make a lot.
This recipe made about 16 for me. Hope your family enjoys it as much as we do!