Friday, July 1, 2011

Candy Covered Pretzels

When I saw these UK blue cups, I knew I had to buy some for Will, who is always out of cups (or maybe just behind on doing the dishes...). I bought them thinking that I would fill them up with candy, however, once I saw how big they were, I knew that would be a challenge.
That's when my mom came up with the idea of chocolate covered pretzels. But I didn't want to just give him plain and boring chocolate covered pretzels. So I decided to make extreme candy covered chocolate pretzels, and boy were they delicious!

I went a little crazy buying things, but candy bars are so cheap that you can easily try one of each and get 2-3 pretzels out of it. I used Jones pretzel sticks just because I love having a small pack (about 20 sticks) and I think they're always really good pretzels, never burnt or stale tasting.
First, to get things ready, I lined a baking tray with wax paper to place the pretzels on. I ended up using to pans and as they dried and the chocolate set up I would move them closer together and condense the pan to fit a few more.
You'll need lots of small plastic bags for all of the candy bits.
And take your candy bars (I used a lot of packs of mini candy bars because I didn't know how many I wanted to use. Typically four mini candy bars or one normal sized candy bar was all that I used and it made about 3 pretzels.
Start by sealing the candy in the bag and pressing out all of the air.
Next, use a blunt, heavy object, like this large glass cup, and begin smashing the candy bar into small pieces.
Then flip the bag over and continue the crushing on the other side to make sure you don't have any big pieces.
I left my candy bits fairly large because I like the look of a pretzel covered in chunks of candy. Large pieces however, are much difficult to adhere to the pretzel so you need a good mix of large and small to get a evenly covered pretzel that is full of candy bits.
Next, open up the bag and place it on a large plate or platter to catch any bits that may spill during the coating process.
I went ahead and rolled down the bag to make it easier to fit my hand inside.
And then repeat using the other types of candy.
The Twix was very hard to break apart because of the caramel, so I might have tried the cutting technique I explain later on the Snickers.
The M&M's looked so colorful, I barely broke them up because I loved the big bright whole pieces.
And as you add in the different toppings, I just kept adding bags to my plate.
The pecan pieces and chocolate chips I did not break up, and I wished that I had. I thought they were small enough to stick to the pretzel but it was pretty difficult.
Aren't the sprinkles pretty? This was for our anniversary so I wanted some cute sprinkles thrown in the mix to make them more sentimental.
For the oreo cookies and cream chocolate bar, I placed the whole bar into the freezer for a few minutes to harder up, otherwise when I went to crush the bar it became very soft and mushy instead of nicely broken pieces.
I also used some peanuts (and once again, I wish I had crushed them into smaller bits).
For the snickers, I had originally tried to smash them and it was obvious that they weren't breaking, they were simply flattening out and becoming sticky. So next, I tried freezing them for a few minutes to harden the caramel. This unfortunately made the candy bar rock hard and I wasn't strong enough to  break them into pieces! So finally, I decided to cut them into pieces.
And it actually worked pretty well. The pieces were really pretty big, but I could have made them smaller if I had take more time.
I had to saw the knife through them and peel them off the blade a bit as the caramel got pretty sticky but overall I was happy with the pieces.
So here were all of my toppings: Butterfinger, Twix, Snickers, M&M's, semi sweet chocolate chips, pecans, salted peanuts, a cookies and cream chocolate bar, and two types of pink sprinkles.
I used the remaining chocolate candy melt baking discs let over from the grill cake (see older posts).
And microwaved the chocolate in a measuring cup until it was nice and smooth.
Dipping the pretzel in the chocolate I used a spoon to pour chocolate over the pretzel rod and let the excess drip off.
I also used the spoon to scrape off any dripping chocolate.
And for the first one, I tried to roll the pretzel into the cookies and cream topping--and boy was it a mess!! It was pretty clear early on that I had to sprinkle the toppings onto the pretzel because they were way too heavy to simply roll onto the pretzel rod.
One this one (and a few of the larger candy pieces) I took the toppings in my hands and pressed them onto the pretzel after it was already on the baking sheet. This also helps to get as much of the topping onto the pretzel as you possibly can.
And then I just continued trying different toppings. The peanuts were a bit hard to get them to stay, but again, by placing them into my hands and pushing them into the pretzel and holding it there for a second, they seemed to stay a lot better.
 Since the M&M's were such big pieces, I placed a line of them on the tray and placed the chocolate covered pretzel into the pile, pushing more into the chocolate with my hands and holding it for a minute until it set up a bit.
 Next, I tried using this caramel apple dip and "frosting" a pretzel with caramel dip before dipping it into the chocolate.
 Then I sprinkled the pecan pieces onto the pretzel to create a "chocolate turtle" pretzel.
 I did the same thing with peanut butter, topping it with sprinkles and doing one with Butterfinger. Be careful however to do the caramel and peanut butter steps once you're almost out of chocolate, because some of the caramel/peanut butter will come off into the chocolate very easily.
 You couldn't really taste that much caramel and peanut butter in the ones that I had tried. It was more of a subtle hint, but they tasted wonderful regardless and I think that if I had tried to use more caramel or peanut butter it would have just come off into the chocolate even more. Overall, it was a nice idea, but not necessarily worth the effort.
 And here's the pretty tray of chocolate covered pretzels.
 And now for the white chocolate!
 These were mainly for my mom, who is a huge white chocolate fan.
 And boy were they good!!
See how the caramel mixed in with the chocolate? You can really tell with the white. Still yummy, but much harder to work with and definitely something to save until the end of the chocolate.
 I had some extra Butterfinger, so much so that I even dipped a whole Butterfinger candy in the white chocolate and caramel mixture. (Yum!!)
 And here they are!
 And don't they look cute peeking out of the cups?
 Unfortunately we left them in the car and they all melted, however, after taking them home and placing them in the freezer to harden before eating, they were insanely delicious! A bit messy and hard to eat with all of the candy, but yum!

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