Caramel Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods & Food Gift Giving Ideas

Katy and I have been making these delightful treats for gift giving for several years. They are always a huge hit for bakes sales too! Sometimes it is nice to have something other than cookies on your holiday dessert tray. These treats give you that crunchy, salty yet sweet sensation that is so pleasing! Get some of those long cellophane bags and put 3 – 5 in each bag, tie off with some cute ribbon and you are set to give them away!  We also use this same process with Granny Smith apples and make gourmet caramel apples. They are gorgeous! I wish I had a photo of the apple but I haven’t made them since I started blogging.

Be sure to save one for yourself!

The process starts with melting caramels. To keep the caramel melty I transfer it to my small fondue pot with a tea candle keeping it just the right temperature for coating the pretzels.

Use a spoon to help coat the caramel onto the pretzels, going about half way up is plenty of sweetness.

Using coffee cups for the candy melts and melting the chocolate in the microwave is fast and easy. Transfer the cooled down melts to a  freezer quart size zip lock bag and snip off the corner to drizzle onto the caramel dipped rods after you have rolled them in chopped nuts.

We usually make a double batch of these. Go ahead and dip the broken pretzel rods too, they look cute! I save them for the family to eat.  These stay fresh and crunchy for about 5 days. After that the dipped end of the pretzel starts getting soft.

Triple Treat Pretzel Rods

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mixed nuts (put in a shallow dish that is long enough to roll the pretzel rods in)
  • 14 ounces vanilla caramels (about 50)
  • 2 Tablespoons whipping cream (I have also used milk)
  • 18 large pretzel rods
  • 1 bag of chocolate candy melts (or chocolate chips melted)
  • 1 bag of vanilla chocolate melts (or white chocolate chips melted)
  • 2 quart size freezer bags

1. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat liner, or the nonstick aluminum foil.

2. Melt the caramels and whipping cream over a medium low heat until melted and smooth. Reduce heat to low or transfer caramel to a fondue pot with a tea candle to keep the caramel melted.

3. Hold each pretzel rod by one end over the pan and spoon the caramel over 1/2 -2/3 of the pretzel. Let the caramel set on the pretzel on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remainder of pretzels.

4. Melt a couple ounces of chocolate and white chocolate candy melts or chips. I put the melts or chips in coffee cups and melt them in the microwave oven on a low setting, stopping to stir a couple times, until they are all melted. You will need to repeat this process a couple times but I find a smaller amount of melted chocolate at a time is easier to deal with.

5. Take the caramel coated pretzels and dip them in the chocolate or white chocolate and coat them using the back of the spoon, while the chocolate coating is still soft roll the pretzel in the chopped nuts, set on the prepared cookie sheet to set. Repeat with all the pretzels.

6. After the dipped pretzels have set, melt more candy melts or chocolate chips, transfer slightly cooled melts to a freezer quart size plastic bag, (if the melts are too hot it will melt the bag) snip off one corner of the bag and gently squeeze out the melted chips and drizzle over the dipped pretzel rods. We do this to just one side. Let chocolate set completely, sometimes to hurry along the process we will put the tray in the refrigerator for a 5 -10 minutes. Once the chocolate is set you can place them in gift bags.

Option: You can dip the preztels in the caramel and roll them right away in the chopped nuts, (skip giving them a layer of chocolate) let the caramel set and then drizzle with melted dark, milk or white chocolate.

Option: skip the caramel step, dip the rod in dark, milk or white chocolate, roll in nuts or skip the nuts and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles or holiday sprinkles. It makes them less sweet and lighter on calories too but you still get that fun sweet and salty taste sensation!

Option: Use the short braided pretzel twists instead of the long pretzel rods with any of the other options.

Option: Use Granny Smith apples and a wooden skewer for caramel apples. Use the same process for gourmet dipped apples. They are beautiful! Place on a small plate and wrap with cellophane, tie with wired ribbon. To serve, remove the wooden skewer, cut into wedges and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Better Home and Garden

Nutmeg Notes

Just so you know I am not a healthy food Saint! I do intend to allow myself a few holiday indulgences! I don’t need to have a bite of everything, but I will choose a few of my favorites to have over the holidays. I figure if I eat healthy about 80 – 90 percent of the time that allows for a few not so healthy eats.

If you want to give some food gifts that won’t cause you to over indulge on sugar think about giving some savory treats instead of the sugary ones. Some non cookie or candy food gifts I have given are; blue corn tortilla chips and salsa, hummus and pita chips, specialty cheeses and water crackers and homemade pancake mix with a bottle of  real maple syrup. I have also made biscotti cookies which are less sweet and given them with a bag of gourmet coffee.

Hubby Tom gets quite a few food gifts from business associates and I have noticed a trend the last few years. Instead of the typical boxes of candy or a bottle of wine we have received; gift jars of pistachio nuts, gourmet popcorn, specialty coffees, imported balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, fresh fruit baskets or imported pasta with jars of gourmet marinara sauce. We were given a huge basket of oranges one year that were fantastic! This just goes to show that food gifts can be more healthy and still fun!



Add Your Thoughts

If you give food gifts this year what will they be?

What non sweet type of food gifts have you given or received?


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  1. Karen says:

    These look yummy! We do very little giving and receiving anymore outside the immediate family. (Long story) But in the past I once did chocolate covered potato chips. Delish. One year we got smoked salmon which was great for when we had company. My mom cracked me up because she got a huge Godiva chocolate gift basket and ended up throwing most away. I told her surely she could have given it to someone and she said she couldn’t because she picked her favorite pieces out of almost every box!

  2. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    Delicious! I’m sure you’re very popular with your friends and neighbors this time of year…


  3. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    Yummy! I had one of these at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Albuquerque and it was divine! (Now I stay out of towns with a RMCF nearby.:))

    I’ll be giving my version of a pretzel-sweet snack this year (“recipe” to come later), along with some healthified cookies. I’ve also given fruit, nuts, coffees and teas as gifts.

  4. Ann says:

    Oh wow these look fabulous. I may have to try this one. I was talking with my son about what we’ll make. I have to do pumpkin bread because it is just heaven. I will probably do my chocolate covered peanuts and turtles. Last year I did chocolate covered almonds, peanuts, fudge, turtles. I love making the candy and the funny thing is I don’t eat that much. We ended up throwing some out last year. I LOVE peanut brittle and I wish I had an easy recipe I felt like I could try. I’ve made it, but never by myself. It’s not that easy. My Great Aunt makes the most awesome divinity. So yummy and SOOO not healthy.

  5. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    YUM!!!!!!!! Tami, it is about balance! Why work out like crazy & eat healthy most of the time & not be able to treat oneself every so often.. that is what life is about! :-)

    People are always amazed when they see me eating my cookie treat or something.. I tell them, do you think I do all I do & not treat myself one in a while!!! ;-)

  6. Carol says:

    Wow, those look so good! Am wondering now if a few of those on my dessert tray for Christmas Day would please everyone!

    I only give food gifts to mom over the holidays.At one time we used to do a big basket for his boss.The only food gift I’ve ever received was a basket after my knee surgery.

    My baking is finished except for the chocolate covered nuts that is a request here every Christmas!

  7. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    The pretzels look & sound delicious! I can totally see that they make great gifts! I also like your ideas for more savory food gifts! Finally, I think it’s important “to let a bit loose” during the holidays, just not too much! Your 80 – 90% rule sounds perfect! :)

  8. erica @ fashionmeetsfood says:

    Your pretzels turned out wonderful. They look so good. My mum would make these all the time but we never added PB… I definitely will give these a try.


  9. Dr. J says:

    These are downright evil! Chocolate, caramel, and a pretzel, three of my favs. Tie me to the mast, the Sirens are calling!!

  10. Diane Fit to the Finish says:

    Those look delicious! We make chocolate dipped pretzels each year – it’s messy and fun. Ours are not nearly as good-looking as yours though!

  11. fittingbackin says:

    These look awesome!! I love the idea of using pretzel rods and the combo of sweet with salty – yum!!

    I’ve gotten homemade cheese straws before – yum!

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