Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Caramel & Chocolate Dipped Pretzels for your Valentine!

My very favorite sweet is caramel and chocolate dipped pretzels. Years ago I had a friend who was a pro at making them. I have lost touch with her, and I have tried to make my own. I have been working on them for a few years now, and I almost have them perfect. This year the perfect thing that worked was using my mom's caramel recipe, which is actually my grandma's recipe. It is delicious! We have used it as caramel dip, caramel popcorn, it really can be used for caramel in any recipe. In my case, I used the caramel for the first layer on my yummy dipped pretzels. The recipe is really easy, soft, chewy and of course, sweet goodness. I love licking the spatula! Dipping pretzels for Valentine's Day has become a tradition for me. I would like to do them for Christmas, but I can't make all the best sweets for Christmas, so I save these little treasures for Valentine's day. I love the crunch from the pretzel, the chewy caramel, and heavenly milk chocolate topped with festive sprinkles. To top them off, I wrap them in a simple clear treat bag and dress it up with a cute ribbon. It is perfect for all the love's in your life. I like to use the Honey Wheat Pretzel Twists that are found at Wal-Mart. (They are Wal-Mart brand, and so tasty.) I used to be able to get them at Sam's Club in a big tub, but they stopped selling them, so when I found them at Wal-Mart, I had to buy several bags. My kids love to snack on them, and I get my fair share too. These are so much better than the standard bland pretzel's that our out there. I just used Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips for dipping, which worked out great, but next time I am going to get dipping chocolate. I also want to get pink and red dipping chocolate for drizzling next time. I'm not crazy about the crunch from the sprinkles. So, I'm still perfecting them, but I do know one thing, that I will always use my mom's caramel recipe, so here it is...

Mom's Caramel for Dipped Pretzels

2 cups Brown Sugar
1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 cube Butter (has to be butter)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Dissolve brown sugar in corn syrup in large pan over medium-high heat. When dissolved, add butter and melt. When butter is melted, add sweetened condensed milk. Stir and scrape the bottom constantly as to not let caramel burn on the bottom. Attatch candy thermometer to the side of your pot and watch closely. When it gets to Soft Ball Stage, keep stirring vigorously and time for 2-3 more minutes. Remove your pan from heat and continue stirring to cool down quickly. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes stirring occassionally before dipping pretzels. Prepare cookie sheets lined with wax paper. You are ready to dip when the caramel stays on the pretzel and doesn't just melt right off. If it slides right off and pools, wait a bit longer. Dip your pretzels and twist with your finger to drain extra caramel off and place on parchment paper to set. Continue until caramel is gone. Any extra caramel can be stored in the fridge and reheated for caramel apple dipping, ice cream drizzling, or other caramel yummies.

When caramel is set, melt chocolate in double broiler pan. If you don't have a double broiler, you can use a glass bowl that will fit inside a saucepan with about one inch of space between the glass bowl and saucepan. Fill saucepan with about 1/4 in of water and boil. Put chocolate chips or dipping chocolate in glass bowl and melt. Dip caramel covered pretzels into chocolate and place back on parchment lined cookie sheet to set up. If you want sprinkles, do it now before the chocolate dries. If you want to drizzle with colored chocolate, wait until chocolate sets up.

When pretzels are set up, assemble in cute bags with bow. There are lots of creative ways to pretty them up. I love tying them with big cute bows. It's simple, and really cute. So if you have some special people in your life that you love, surprise them with these delicious treats!
Happy Valentine's Day from My Sisters' Cucina!


Sara said...

These look fabulous! Sweet caramel and chocolate, plus salty pretzel. Awesome.

katherine micaela said...

Wow! They are so cute to look at. Furthermore, its so delicious to look at. How creative you are. it's like klacht melden

Emily said...

Love these! Way cute idea! I would be all over getting these for Valentines day!