It’s candy making time!
In the kitchen, I have two strengths. I’m a great baker and I make amazing cocktails. Candy making is in that grey area between baking and cooking, in my opinion. It requires the patience and delicate touch of baking, but the multi-tasking exactness of cooking. Every year, I make a few candies, but they are usually overshadowed by my baked goods. (My baked goods are pretty darn awesome. It’s not hard for them to overshadow something.)
I’ve tried caramels, but I just can’t get them right. Either they end up runny goo or rock hard. Not the sweet, soft awesomeness my mother makes. I did peppermint rock candy one year. It was fun to watch the crystals slowly form. Plus, I had all these jars of colored sugar water all over my house. I looked like some sort of mad candy scientist. I’ve also worked with chocolate before with some success, so I opted to play with chocolate again this year.
My favorite holiday treats are peanut butter balls. There’s something about the salty-sweet flavors of chocolate and peanut butter that tickle my tastebuds in just the right way. My daughter loves chocolate covered pretzels. I’m sure it’s for similar reasons, but she loves the added crunch of a pretzel. So what would happen if I combined them?
A new annual treat!
My goodness, are they delicious! The flavors and textures combine to make something delicious. Pretzels help the peanut butter hold shape, so you don’t need to add a ton of powdered sugar like with typical peanut butter balls. Peanut butter balls can sometimes get dry or pasty with all the powdered sugar; these stay a bit softer in the middle, which stands in nice contrast with the crunchy pretzel. The chocolate on top just seals the deal… and holds them all together! So good!
Side note: My son also seemed to enjoy the treats. At least, he enjoyed sneaking the pretzels! He’s about 18 months, and he’s an avid climber. As I was rolling the peanut butter mixture into balls (so my hands were covered in peanut butter), He decided to check out what Mommy was doing. He climbed onto the chair, kneeling on it while looking over the table edge. Then, he got a little bolder, standing on the chair while leaning over to sneak pretzels. Amused by his bravado, I waited to see how far he would push it. He climbed all the way up onto the table and tried to steal some of the peanut butter mixture with his adorable pudgy hands. Yeah, no dice Budgie.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
Sweet. Salty. Crunch. Easy.
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons salted butter (softened)
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- ring pretzels
- 1 1/2 to 2 bags dark chocolate chips
- Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper and set aside.
- Beat peanut butter, butter and vanilla together. Scrape the bowl. Add the sugars and beat until combined. It may be a little sticky, but if it’s really sticky or thin, add a little more powdered sugar. 3. Scoop 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture out and roll it into a ball. Place the ball inside the pretzel ring and press down slightly with the palm or side of your hand. This will flatten the peanut butter into a disk and fill the inside of the ring. 4. When all of the peanut butter is used, freeze the pretzel/peanut butter discs for about a half hour. If you live where it’s already below freezing, you can set the trays outside. Drape them loosely with a towel to prevent any debris floating around in the wind from landing on them.
- Once the peanut butter discs are frozen, melt half of the chocolate chips (1 bag) in a double boiler. I place a metal mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to create a double boiler. This prevents the chocolate from scalding or clotting. Keep the water warm; you will be back to melt the rest. 6. Coat the peanut butter rings in chocolate. I dropped them in the melted chocolate, then flipped them over with a fork to coat both sides. Set them back on the wax paper lined cookie sheets. When you are running low on chocolate, melt the rest of the chocolate. I did the last bag 1/2 at at time. I can save unused chips; it’s harder to save unused melted chocolate. Keep dipping the rings until all are covered.
- Freeze chocolate covered rings for about 30 minutes. I put mine outside again, covered with a towel.
- Store in a cool/cold place. I kept mine in the freezer and set them out about a half hour before company comes so they have a chance to thaw.
This was originally published on LetsGoMommy.com.