Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chocolate Covered Christmas Pretzels

Bagged and ready for delivery...
Warming the chocolate...
Note the jar Josh is pulling the pretzels from
Getting their chocolate coating...
Some had sprinkles...
Some had more chocolate...
The production line...
They were stacked everywhere...

In keeping with the Johnson family tradition of chocolate covered pretzels... we bought 2 of the big containers from Sams Club that had cute stars, trees and bell shapes (see top picture) for about $8.00 each plus about 8 pounds of white chocolate and in a matter of about 90 minutes we had over 1,200 of those bad boys completed and ready for delivery!

We are getting better with the "production" each and every time we make them. This time we decided to melt the chocolate (we bought 2 pound blocks instead of the chips) in the microwave first and then put the melted chocolate into the frying pan (it was on low) we found that this makes the chocolate stay warmer and the pretzel don't end up "swimming" in the chocolate because most of it will drip off and back into the pan... and we didn't have to keep re-heating the chocolate on the stove in the double boiler.  After they were dipped we put them on a waxed paper covered cookie sheet and moved over to the "decorating" section of the kitchen.

Our next big ah-ha moment was with the decorating bags. I had previously bought bottles (they looked like smaller ketchup bottles you use at a ballgame). Kendra would put several Wilton Candy Melts into the bottle and would microwave them until melted... stirring them constantly and sometimes they would burn a little because it was taking forever to get them to melt completely. This time I bought the Wilton Decorating Bags (I think there were 10 of them for $4.00)... these worked like a charm.  Kendra put several Candy Melts in the bag... zapped them for the time called for and then would "massage" the bag until all of the Melts were melted completely... then she snipped a very small piece off of the bottom and voila... the perfect decorating tool! (it's better to take just a little snip off ~ you can always snip off more if you want later).

Josh thought it was taking to long to just decorate each individual pretzel and decided they should just sweep across the whole tray with several passes back and forth with each of the colors. With this new idea they were much faster decorating than we were dipping and honestly... they looked just as good as when each one was done on its own!  Some of the pans Josh and Kendra used just the sugar sprinkles and others they did just the Candy Melts and on some they did both... they all looked so festive and tasted so good!

The pretzels would have set up a lot faster had my mom not cranked up the temperature to 86* in my house. Apparently when my mom and dad first arrived (Kendra and I were both running late at work and Josh was in the shower) my mom decided that it was a little "chilly" so she proceeded to crank up the heat to 86*... She claims she didn't hear the furnace kick on... so she just keep pressing the "up" button.  Josh was the one who noticed how hot it was getting and discovered that it was 86*. He first accused me of cranking it up and then my mom started laughing... she knew she was busted! Needless to say it gave us all a great laugh for the evening!

I hope that you and your family have at least one "fun" thing to do in the kitchen that everyone can do together... oh and don't forget to have your favorite Christmas carols playing in the background... you will be making memories for years to come!
Merry Christmas!
 
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