Monday, March 5, 2012

{How to make} Gourmet Pretzels

Covered In Chocolate :)

 People seem to always be looking for treats the can serve to go with their party theme. I get lost of requests for party food ideas. So this week I thought I would share some easy treat ideas that anybody could make look (and taste!) good, without baking a thing. Even those who claim to have 0 talent,  I promise! 

It's no secret I love to throw parties. All of my baking/decorating has actually stemmed from that. Nope, I never started out with dreams of becoming a baker.  I began making cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and many other things to serve at my own children's parties. I use to see so many beautiful parties online, displaying such perfect treats! In reality so many of these are ordered from bakers who have perfected this area, but my reality is there's no budjet for that! Ordering an entire table of custom treats is just not in our military income budget...and there's no fun in that either!

I have found sometimes the easiest looking things aren't so easy. It's those little tips here and there that make it all come together. So this week I will share my techniques on several different treats you can ramp up with just a little bit of chocolate and maybe some sprinkles. The great thing about about decorating with chocolate and sprinkles is you can switch out any color combination to match any party or holiday! Soon your dessert table will make you look like a pro :)

And to start - Gourmet Pretzels!

It's hard to show scale in photos...but these are actually the big pretzels about 3 inches wide. These make a great size treat to serve at parties, send to school, or package up as a little gift. While browsing the mall yesterday I noticed a candy shop selling these for $1.09 a piece! Can you belive that! If your every pressed for time or just want an easy treat these are a great go-to. And who doesn't love the sweet and salty combo, yum!


Supplies: Almond bark or candy melts, large pretzels, and sprinkles. Opps! You will need wax paper too!

Keeping your workspace clean and organized is SO important! Here's how I set up before I start dipping.

Step 1: Melt the chocolate/candy coating.

I could write so much on chocolate. If you've ever worked with it know it's tempermental!!
My best advice is to melt slowly and keep stirring. I begin by melting it for 30 seconds in the microwave and then 15 second spurts with stiring in between. Once your chocolate is melted it will probably be pretty runny. I let my chocolate set a minute before dipping. You want it to run off the pretzel but not so thin the sprinkles will slide right off too. If your chocolate starts to get too thick again just stick it back in the microwave for 15 seconds.

If you overheat your chocolate it's going to be thick and clumpy...and there's no going back :( Also...I've tried many times to color chocolate and it just doesn't work out well. When I need a color I always  use chocolate melts. You can buy the Witlon brand at just baout any store that sells baking items...I really love to get these from cake decorating stores because they come great colors and they are of better quality :)

Step 2: Dip/cover the pretzel.
(you can better see in this photo the size of the pretzels)

I start by dipping my pretzels and then I use the spoon to cover up missed spots. I try to stop the chocolate right cross the bottom of the top pretzels openings. Then I tap the pretzel until chocolate stops falling from it. At that point I scrape the back of the pretzel across the bowl edge a few times. It's important to make sure you chocolate is settled and not dripping before moving on.

Step 3: Hold the chocolate over a bowl and pour sprinkles over. I never dip my pretzels in the sprinkles. There's a greater chance of messing it up that way. The bowl keeps the sprinkles all together so I can reuse again.

Step 4: Lay the pretzel down on wax paper.

Then repeat as many times as you would like! You will notice the chocolate will set very quickly and soon you will be able to carefully layer the pretzels if you need more room.

Also, when a good amount of sprinkles has been poured into the bowl I transfer it to a smaller bowl to use to pour over. You can just keep pouring from the sprinkle jar until the end and pour excess back in if you'd like. I like to use up what I can, so I don't have to pour much back into the container. Sometimes a spare lump of chocolate does get loose in the sprinkles.

If you'd like another way to decorate your pretzels without the sprinkles just place a few candy melts or small amount of chocolate into a ziplock bag. Melt in the microwave in small increments until melted well.

 Gather it into the corner and twist the bag...then cut a small hold in the corner.
 Quickly move across the pretzel until it's covered. Pick up the pretzel right away to break off the extra it on the wax paper with the other complete pretzels.

And that's it! Once you get all those little "tricks" down these things are so incredibly easy to make (and really yummy to eat)!

We just got new neighbors this week so I'm going to run some over to them to say welcome!

Next up: Fortune cookies!