Yield: 1 to 1-1/4 pounds
Even if you're not much of a fan of plain pretzels, you'll
probably enjoy these. They're a great combination of sweet,
salty, and crunchy, and they're also attractive-looking. I have
heard that some people serve these with drinks (as hors d'oeuvres),
but I use them as a snack or a dessert. Milk, dark, or white
chocolate will all work in this recipe, so you can use whatever
you prefer--just make sure the chocolate is of excellent quality.
Presented in an attractive, plastic-wrap-lined tin, these would
be nice for a Valentine's Day gift; especially if half of the
recipe is made with dark chocolate and half with milk or white
For the pretzels, I have used the small, salted type sometimes
called "minis" or "little ones". They are the classic pretzel
shape, but only about 1-3/8 inches across at their widest point.
Use your favorite brand. Alternatively, Snyder's of Hanover,
who makes good pretzels in many varieties, has small, rectangular
pretzels called "Snaps", and they look great when dipped. For
a more attractive end product, dip only whole, unbroken pretzels.
12 ounces good-quality milk, dark, OR white chocolate, very
2 Tbsp. solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
6 to 8 ounces small, salted pretzels
For Garnish: Small amount grated or shaved chocolate (in contrasting
color from the color of the chocolate in which you dip the pretzels)
OR chocolate sprinkles.
Line several baking sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side up.
In a medium heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate and shortening.
Set over hot water on low heat. Stir or whisk frequently until
melted and smooth. (Milk and white chocolates, even those of
good quality, are often stubborn about melting. If yours won't
melt smoothly, turn it into the workbowl of a food processor
fitted with a steel blade (be careful not to get any water into
the chocolate!). Process just until smooth.) Carefully turn
melted chocolate into a small bowl. If necessary, cool, stirring
often, until just slightly warm.
Place one pretzel on top of the melted chocolate. With a three-
or four-tined fork, gently push the pretzel just under the surface
of the chocolate to cover it completely. Pick up the pretzel
so that it lies flat on the fork tines. Using short up-and-down
motions, gently "shake" off excess chocolate from the pretzel.
Carefully place the dipped pretzel on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Continue dipping, placing the dipped pretzels close together
on the foil-lined sheet. Excess chocolate may form small "pools"
where a pretzel touches the sheet, but these should be minimal
in size. After dipping every 5 or 6 pretzels, sprinkle the ones
you've just dipped with a small pinch of the grated or shaved
chocolate or chocolate sprinkles. Keep the decorations dainty
and spare, and sprinkle around the top of the dipped pretzels,
not all in one place. When one sheet has been filled up, place
it into the refrigerator just until the chocolate covering on
the pretzels has hardened; this shouldn't take more than 10
to 20 minutes. Test by peeling several pretzels from the sheet,
using a tissue or sheet of paper towel to protect the chocolate
covering on the pretzels from your fingers. The chocolate covering
should look dull and dry, not shiny and wet, and you should
be able to peel the pretzels easily from the foil-lined sheet.
When chocolate covering has set, remove pretzels from refrigerator.
Gently peel from foil-lined baking sheet; store in airtight
Note: As you're dipping, the chocolate may cool and thicken
too much to enable you to dip the pretzels easily. If so, reheat
gently over hot water on low heat (water should not touch the
bottom of chocolate bowl), stirring often, just until slightly
warm. It might also be helpful to transfer the melted chocolate
mixture into progressively smaller bowls as you dip. Don't try
to use up the last bit of melted chocolate; the dipped pretzels
won't look as smooth (this is a good place to use the smaller
pieces and crumbs for a "cook's treat").
Store the dipped pretzels airtight, at cool room temperature.
I don't know how long these last; the longest I've ever managed
to keep them was five days before some friends dropped by and
finished them off.
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