In life you win some and you loose some. These Peppermint Patty Pretzel Sticks are a tale of both! I do not have pictures for the whole process since this was one of those ideas that became a post due to all of the things that went wrong and then how the situation went right!
Let’s rewind to last week…
It is the end of the week before the Christmas hustle and we are burned out. There have been parties at work, parties with neighbors, food treats for neighbors, gifts and food treats for teachers, Christmas cards, mailing gifts for family all around the country, and on and on (I am sure you get the picture as you were probably doing a similar dance). I am wiped out. Then I remember that I had committed to bringing a treat for my daughters class party the next day. At this point, I am all about simple. So without spending any time researching online or going to the store, Chris and I raid the pantry to see what we can come up with. Score! I find a bar of white baking chocolate, pretzel sticks and sprinkles! In my mind, I picture these cute little pretzel rods half covered in white chocolate with pretty Christmas sprinkles covering them. Simple and festive, what could go wrong? I am sure some of you reading this already know what went wrong, but for others, hopefully I can help you to not make the same mistake I did!
Let’s get started with the part that went WRONG!
So, like I said, I knew I had seen pretty pictures and the idea of white chocolate covered pretzel sticks looked simple enough, but I had clearly never read how to accomplish this. Chris started out melting the white baking chocolate for me in our All-Clad Copper Core Saucier. A couple of minutes in, I should have known this was not going to turn out well. The white chocolate was not melting well and it was looking very yellowish. He kept working with it, because he is good like that, but wasn’t getting anywhere. At this point I started to worry, but being his culinarily resourceful self, Chris had the idea to add a little heavy cream. It started to thin out some but still had a yellow tint.
We decided to go for it anyway. Chris dipped the pretzels and I would cover them with sprinkles. I spread out a sheet of parchment paper for the pretzel sticks to harden on after receiving it’s coating of white chocolate and sprinkles. In my mind, this was so easy and we would be wrapping this up soon. The first couple of pretzels were dipped and sprinkled and looked horrible. I thought to myself, “maybe there is a learning curve… let’s keep trying a few more.” It did not get better. I looked down to see the dipped pretzels that were supposed to be hardening on the parchment paper where “melting”. The white chocolate and sprinkles were falling off and not hardening. It was a disaster and at this point I began to panic. So I asked Chris what we should do. He thought that the addition of a little heavy cream, though it got the white chocolate to smooth out, had also prevented it from hardening. And perhaps the extended cooking time, in a futile effort to get it to melt, had turned it yellow. But what to do now? These pretzels looked like they should have been on one of those Pinterest projects gone wrong sites!
Something just didn’t seems right, so I went to the Internet, started googling, and I saw that we had used the wrong kind of white chocolate. We should have used white chocolate candy melts. Fail! So at this point, I figured I would be sending Mary Stewart to school the next day with a big bag of plain pretzel rods. Nothing wrong with the pretzel rods, her treat just wouldn’t be festive.
Chris starts looking in the pantry and pulls out the rest of the bag of York Peppermint Patty’s that we had used when we made treats for our neighbors and the kids teachers earlier in the week. He looks at me and says, “what if we melt these?” This is where things start to go RIGHT!
Here is what we used.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is a job for your best saucier, or, in absence of a really good one, any double boiler set up will work fine (Chris used an All-Clad Copper Core Saucier). Gentle heat is key for keeping melting chocolate from burning and since we are also melting the sugary mint filling, we need to make sure that we don’t turn it into hard candy by over cooking it.
Start by cutting or breaking the peppermint patties into small pieces (the smaller the piece, the easier it melts). Add the candy pieces to your pot and turn on to low heat (if using a double boiler, you should have the water at a gentle simmer). Initially, do not stir. Allow the candy pieces to start to melt. Once they start to melt, however, stir very frequently (I like a silicone spatula for this job). As soon as all of the candy pieces have melted and there are no lumps left, it is time to start dipping your pretzels. I found that, unless you are making a massive batch and have a huge vat of melted peppermint patties, it is easier to roll the end of the pretzel stick against the spatula to coat it.
We did this similarly to the process above, Chris dipped and I coated in sprinkles. This time however, the sprinkle coating required a little more force. I would pour sprinkles onto a paper plate and then ended up pressing/rolling the covered pretzels in the sprinkles. If you tried to pour the sprinkles over the pretzels, they would just bounce off, but this way they were pressed into the peppermint chocolate and looked really pretty.
We continued to work and after a few minutes were impressed with how quickly the chocolate was hardening. This was the part we were worried about after what had happened earlier. They were so cute, but how did they taste? We taste tested a couple and were impressed by how the salty crunch contrasted with the sweet peppermint!
What a great combo and new take on the chocolate dipped pretzel. I was thrilled with how festive and fun they looked and they tasted good! So while this kitchen dilemma took a little longer than we had hoped, we stumbled upon a delightful new idea that I know you will enjoy! Give it a try and let me know what you think!
And now after all your hard work, make sure you sit down and have a treat with a glass of homemade eggnog!
Or you can even start a new tradition and leave a few on Christmas night for Santa’s reindeer!