Friday, December 21, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels

One week ago today 26 innocent children and women lost their lives on what should have been just a regular school day at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  In the wake of this tragedy, many people are asking what they can do to help the victims.  Today, the blogging community is gathering together to honor the victims and to spread the word about Newtown Youth & Family Services which has been helping families for over 30 years in the Newtown area and is assisting the survivors (parents, students, school staff and others) and the families of the victims with counseling, etc.  To donate to this non-profit organization, please go to

I had this post for holiday treats ready to go for this morning, which was just going to be an additional holiday treat that I wanted to share, but after I heard about the Cookies and Crafts for Sandy Hook movement, I knew this would be an appropriate post.  While I made these on my own, these can be made with kids.  You can have them help dip the pretzels and sprinkle the peppermint onto them.

I'm sure everyone is holding their loved ones a little tighter this week; I know I am...

Another addition to my holiday gifts was chocolate peppermint pretzels.  I came across this recipe in Runners World Magazine, of all places.  It mentioned the anti-oxidants of the dark chocolate along with the nutrient-rich carbs from the pretzels.  This way, it makes us feel better about eating chocolate covered pretzels, right??  And the best part is, 70% chocolate doesn't have any dairy in it, so as long as the pretzels don't either, these are parve so you can have them after a meat or dairy meal.

The original recipe says to use a microwave-safe bowl and to melt the chocolate in the microwave.  I'm always skeptical about that because you can end up over cooking it and the chocolate isn't as smooth and easy to work with.  My favorite way to melt chocolate is to use a double boiler.  I have this bowl from Pampered Chef and I love it!

A few tips - after melting the chocolate, I put the pretzel in the bowl and used a toothpick to pick it up by the bottom opening, letting the excess chocolate run off before putting it down on the parchment paper.  This worked, though every so often I had to get a new toothpick because the old one broke.  Also, for the peppermint sticks - we used mini candy canes.  Unwrap them, put them in a Ziplock bag, and use a hammer or mallet to crush them.  Not all the way down to a fine powder, but close enough that you can sprinkle the bits and be able to eat them easily.

These were so ridiculously easy to make that I will definitely make them again.  Peppermint for the holidays, maybe nuts for another time of year!

Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels (recipe slightly adapted from Runners World Magazine, December 2012)

1 12-ounce package bittersweet (70%) chocolate baking chips
1 tbsp butter
15-20 whole-grain pretzels
3 peppermint sticks, crushed ***I used about 10 mini-candy canes

- slowly melt the chocolate and the butter either in a double boiler or in a microwave safe bowl, stirring often.
- Dip the pretzels into the melted chocolate and place on a parchment-lined tray.
- Let cool slightly, sprinkle with peppermint
- Refrigerate to cool completely.

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