Chocolate-covered pretzels are one of my favorite snacks before an afternoon swim or bike ride. I grab a few on my way out the door for a blast of carbs. They also make great road trip food, especially when mixed into a big bag of trail mix with roasted almonds,dried fruit, and toasted coconut.
I always attempt a holiday baking project with my nieces and nephews. This year, I settled on decorating pretzels to give the kids a break from the constant flow of homemade sugary treats. I know pretzels aren’t quite health food, but they do qualify as more of a snack than a dessert, at least for the under 5 set.
I brought my bag of supplies down to my mom and dad’s apartment in Maryland and set up shop in their dining room. Within an hour after the kids came barreling over after school, we had platters full of chocolate-covered pretzels covered in sprinkles and shredded coconut. My sister gamely let the kids eat their fill of pretzel “snacks.” And she and I snacked while packaging up the rest into little bags for relatives and friends.
The best part about this pretzel project is that the kids participated in every step. I didn’t have to worry about them getting burned by a hot oven or cookie tray; licking raw eggs off their fingers; or flinging batter from the electric mixer onto my parents’ ceiling.
No kid project is without a mess, of course. My sister stood by with a tub of baby wipes to swipe chocolate off the kids’ fingers and faces before they left the kitchen. And we covered the work surface with paper, Maryland crab feast-style, so that the clean up consisted of two steps: roll all of the trash into the paper and pitch.
Snyder's grid-shaped pretzels work best here because the chocolate sticks to the shape better than the traditional knot-style pretzels. I dipped a few handfuls of gluten-free pretzel rings for a snack during my drive back to New York. Unfortunately, they were gone before I hit exit 2 of the Jersey Turnpike.
A DIY Snack: Decorated Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels
What you need to gather:
-craft paper or newspaper
-masking or painter’s tape to secure the craft paper or newspaper
-Toppings like: sprinkles, shredded coconut or mini peanut butter chips
What you need to prepare:
-To minimize cleanup, cover the table or work surface with craft paper or newspaper and secure it with masking or painter’s tape.
-Line a baking tray or dish with parchment and set it near your work area.
-Set small dishes of toppings out. (I used foil cupcake wrappers.)
-Set a pile of pretzels out for each decorator.
-On the side, have wipes or wet paper towels ready to swipe messy hands.
How to melt the chocolate:
- Divide chocolate into small ramekins or other microwave safe dishes, one for each person decorating. Microwave for 60 seconds, remove and stir. If chocolate is not completely melted, microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
How to decorate:
-Dip pretzels in chocolate and then right into the toppings.
-Set finished pretzel on the parchment-lined baking tray.
Let the chocolate dry:
-The kids ate a bunch of the fished pretzels before the chocolate dried, but I preferred to wait. Be sure the chocolate is totally dry before you pack the pretzels to give as gifts. The white chocolate hardened on its own in about 20 minutes. The regular chocolate took longer; setting the tray in the fridge seemed to speed up the process.
To Package (or not):
-To prepare these as a gift, package into food safe bags and tie with a ribbon. To keep as a snack, store pretzels in an airtight container.