Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate S'mores Pretzels!

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the abundance of delicious food!  For several years now, I swore every Christmas that I was going to make chocolate covered pretzels, then ran out of time to do so.  This year, though, I bought all the ingredients and started dipping before the season could fly by once again.  After some trial and error (and burned batches of chocolate), I made three sets of pretzels to give away as gifts: White Chocolate Peppermint, Milk Chocolate Toffee and Dark Chocolate S'mores.  All three varieties have so far been a hit, so I thought I'd share one of the recipes with you!
Mmmmm....S'mores Pretzels....
Chocolate S'mores Pretzels
I loooooooove s'mores, so when I was buying ingredients, I purchased some graham crackers and marshmallows to experiment with.  I think they actually turned out to be the tastiest--and easiest--of the pretzel varieties I made.  To make them, you'll need:
-2 12-ounce bags of dark or milk chocolate chips  (I used Hershey's Dark)
-1 large bag of twisty pretzels (I bought the Family Size bag)
-1 package of mini marshmallows
-1 sleeve of graham crackers
-wax paper
-hook, fork, etc. for dipping (your preference)
-empty spice bottle with shaker top (if you have one)
-lots of counter space
-a friend OR grow some extra arms (Note: a friendly octopus is ideal)
~Fill bottom part of the doubler boiler with an inch or two of water.  Melt both packages of dark chocolate together in top part of double boiler over low heat, stirring occasionally.  My melt time took about 10-15 minutes.  (Note: Slowly melted chocolate is much nicer than quickly burned chocolate.) 
~While the chocolate is melting, cover your counter tops with wax paper.  Empty the sleeve of graham crackers into a large, zip-locked plastic bag.  Smash crackers with a mallet or meat tenderizer until they are a crumbly, powder-like consistency.  (No big chunks!)
~If you have one available, pour the smashed graham cracker into an empty spice bottle.  Conveniently, I still haven't put together my spice rack from my wedding three years ago, so I have plenty of those laying around.  (See?  Procrastination pays off.)  You can sprinkle the graham cracker onto the pretzels by hand, but I think the bottle made it easier and less-messy.  Open the bag of marshmallows and put both toppings where you will have easy access to them. 
~Once the chocolate is melted and the toppings are prepped, start dipping the pretzels into the chocolate.  My pot held about 8 pretzels at a time for dipping.  Flip pretzels in chocolate to cover both sides.  Carefully lift them out of the chocolate and place them on the wax paper.  (Note: If you are messy like me, wear an apron or you will be sorry.  I do not own an apron and was very sorry.)
~If you have a friendly octopus, instruct him to place one mini marshmallow in each hole of the pretzel (total of 3 per pretzel) and sprinkle the top of it with a generous helping of graham cracker crumbs.  (Note: Make sure he has cleaned his tentacles first.)  If you do not have a friendly octopus, you will have to do this yourself and pretzel making will take twice as long
~Continue dipping and topping the pretzels until all of the chocolate is gone.  (I got about 100-125 pretzels for every 2 12-ounce bags of chocolate.)  If the chocolate gets too thick, you can add a teensy bit of vegetable shortening.  (Note: Do NOT add milk, butter, water, or ANYTHING ELSE to thin the chocolate.  Trust me.)
~If your friendly octopus is particularly talented, he can dip, decorate and clean up the chocolate you've dripped on your shirt all at the same time.  (You might as well just go sit in the other room and watch "Rudolph" while he takes care of things in the kitchen.  You'll only slow him down.)
~Once all the pretzels are chocolate-covered and have been given the s'mores treatment, either leave them on the counter to cool and harden (takes about 3-4 hours) OR put them in the refrigerator.  (Note: If you want to go the refrigerator route, place pretzels on cookie sheets immediately after dipping, otherwise your already messy shirt will probably get messier.)
~Put cooled pretzels in pretty tins and give to your loved ones accordingly.  (Note: Remember to reward your friendly octopus with a bowl of marshmallows and tuna fish.  He deserves it.)
So pretty!
And that is how you make Chocolate S'mores Pretzels!  If you don't have a friendly kitchen octopus, I recommend asking for one for Christmas.  They are well-worth the money and aquarium upkeep.  
Some other notes to help you out:
-If you want to make white chocolate covered pretzels, don't use a bag of white chocolate chips.  The white candy melting blocks work MUCH better.
-The white chocolate/candy coating hardens much quicker than the milk and dark chocolates, so apply toppings swiftly.
-*Clean* ornament hooks work great as pretzel dippers!  (Thanks, Dad, for that idea!)
-Wear an apron.  Wear an apron.  WEAR AN APRON.
-Octopi have a tendency to sneak treats when you aren't looking.  Prepare to make extra pretzels in case one or two dozen end up in your octopus helper's tummy.
-Ferrets do not make good kitchen assistants; they will just steal all of your ingredients and shiny tins.

What are your all-time favorite holiday treats?  (Cornflake-Marshmallow Wreaths, Panda Bear Brownies, and my family's yum-tastic Chocolate Chip Cookies are some of the other sweets at the top of my list!)  
Happy baking--errr--dipping!  :)

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