I stopped in at Julia’s Confection Connection yesterday, a Brethren-owned business in Gettysburg, Ohio. (want to learn more about Brethren life? Read the weekly Plain Kansas columnist here) In Julia’s tiny home-based store, a baker can find an array of everything they need to make their kitchen hum: baking supplies, candy molds, colorful sprinkles and cookbooks. But I had my eye on some goodies Julia was making. The store doesn’t stock much edible (specializes in supplies) there are usually some of these pretzel treats by the register for purchase. Yum! Julia was making 175 of these for a festival in Piqua, she says you can mix it up a bit by also trying dark or white chocolate.These are some of her candy creations I spotted being made yesterday. You can make them yourself by following the recipe below.
- 8 large pretzel rods
- 5.5 ounces soft caramels
- 2 tsp cream
- 1.5 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1 tsp shortening
- 1 cup peanut butter chips
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and set aside for now.
- Line a small loaf pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the unwrapped caramels and the cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 45 seconds, then stir. If the caramels are not melted, microwave for an additional 30 seconds, or until they melt when you stir them. Stir until the caramels and cream are completely smooth.
- Pour the melted caramel into the loaf pan and refrigerate until it sets, about 20-30 minutes. After the caramel sets, remove it from the pan using the foil as handles, and cut it into 8 equal pieces.
- Pick up one of the caramel pieces and roll it into a rope about 6 inches long. Press the top of the caramel rope into the top of a pretzel rod, and twirl it around the rod so that it winds about ¾ of the way down.
- Place the caramel-wrapped pretzel on the prepared baking sheet, and repeat with remaining caramel and pretzels. Refrigerate the wrapped pretzels while you prepare the chocolate and peanut butter chips.
- Place the peanut butter chips in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Alternately, you can chop them with a large knife, taking care to chop them finely. Pour them onto a baking sheet and spread them into an even layer.
- Place the milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl with the shortening and microwave until melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir until the chocolate is very smooth.
- Dip a caramel-wrapped pretzel into the melted milk chocolate, and use a spoon to pour melted chocolate over it and help you cover any bare patches. Cover all but the bottom 1-2” of the pretzel rod. You should not be able to see any caramel, although you should still see the twisting shape. Drag the bottom of the pretzel against the lip of the bowl to remove excess chocolate.
- Take the dipped pretzel and gently roll the top in the peanut butter chip crumbs. The crumbs will stick to the wet chocolate, and because the caramel creates a raised surface, if you press gently, the crumbs will adhere in the same spiral pattern on top of the caramel. Replace the finished pretzel back on the baking sheet, and repeat with remaining pretzels, chocolate, and peanut butter chips.
- Place the tray with the dipped pretzels in the refrigerator to set the chocolate, for about 30 minutes. Store Caramel Peanut Pretzel Rods in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These are best served at room temperature.
- Source: The Sweet Book of Candy Making by Elizabeth LaBau