I’m pretty sure that I have been making chocolate pretzels since I was in the womb.
They’re perhaps the most non0negotiable Christmas tradition my family has: every December, my mom and I throw ourselves into producing stacks and stacks of chocolate pretzels, kitchen cleanliness and moderation be damned.
We’ve made more or less the same lineup year after year: milk and white chocolate pretzels, topped with walnuts, Christmas sprinkles, and peppermint. This year I made an early batch, sans mom, and decided to give some new flavors a whirl. Despite the mess potential, they’re insanely easy and worth every second of your time.
You’ll need to start with a couple bags of these bad boys and a parchment or wax paper-covered table. Get more pretzels than you think you’ll need, seeing as half the bag is usually broken. We’ve made these with other pretzel shapes as well–peppermint chocolate pretzel rods are awesome for stirring hot chocolate–but this shape seems to hold toppings best and is easiest to dip.
Next, melt a few bags of chocolate according to package directions. The uber-fake, semi-scary Wilton’s “candy melts” work best texturally, and I’ll probably make a batch with them whenever I can pick some up later this month, but regular chocolate chips will work in a pinch. I melted a bag each of milk and white chocolate, and decided to add some dark chocolate to the rotation this year as well. Once the chocolate is melted, dip pretzels, being sure to cover completely. Lift each pretzel out with two forks, then tap forks against the rim of the bowl to let excess chocolate drain. Place on parchment paper, add toppings and drizzle, and let harden. That’s it!
My favorite new flavor I tried this year was white chocolate with pistachios and dried cranberries–both tasty and pretty. Just shell and finely chop or smash pistachios, and sprinkle to your heart’s content. This would also be great with dark chocolate.
I also gave the birthday cake dessert trend a whirl, stirring a tablespoon or so of yellow cake mix into white chocolate before dipping, then topping with rainbow sprinkles. The chocolate gets thicker, and they’re harder to cover evenly (as evidenced by the sloppy dip job I did… oops), but it’s worth it.
Next up is salted caramel – so messy, but so decadent. Just pick up a bag of soft caramels, melt according to package directions and drizzle generously. Then sprinkle with some coarse sea salt.
These dark chocolate almond pretzels are simple, but have a great crunchy texture. Just top with slivered almonds, which are available in the bulk foods section of most grocery stores.
Finally, I loved these black and white pretzels with bits of candied ginger. Dip in dark chocolate, then add small pieces of candied ginger, available at Trader Joe’s (kitchen scissors work great for cutting small pieces). Then drizzle with white chocolate to balance out the spice and bitterness.
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Happy holidays from The Spectator!