by Stephanie Zonis
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 the recipe is made with dark chocolate and half with milk or white chocolate.
For the pretzels, I have used the small, salted type called variously "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. (Snyder's of Hanover can be found at www.snydersofhanover.com.) For a more attractive end product, dip only whole, unbroken pretzels.
12 ounces good-quality milk, dark,
OR white chocolate, very finely chopped
2 Tbsp. solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
6 to 8 ounces small, salted pretzels
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 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 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 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 container.
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 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 (then some friends dropped by and finished them off).
Copyright © 2000 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created February 2000
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