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
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?