Here's a tip if you're looking for something super simple to give friends, neighbors, countrymen and want to involve the kiddies: whip up some chocolate covered pretzel rods! Earth-shattering? Probably not. Super duper easy and a snap for the kids to make? Ab-so-toot-ly!
Here's what you'll need:
- Bag of pretzel rods, the big ones
- good quality chocolate (don't go with the Nestle chips here -- use the best quality chocolate you can use, even if it's only the dark chocolate chips from Giardelli you get at Sam's Club. I also really love Callebaut from http://www.gourmail.com, but it's a bit late to order from them now. Tuck that away for future reference)
- Sprinkles, toffee bits, mini M&Ms etc.
- parchment or wax paper
- a baking sheet
Place the chocolate (you'll need a bunch -- think 2 or 3 cups) in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute, stir, and repeat at 30-second increments until the chocolate is totally melted. Kids love to stir, so this is a great way to get them started at the beginning.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Your pretzel rods won't stick to this and won't make a big mess to clean-up when you're done.
Dip half of each pretzel rod into the chocolate and allow the excess to drip off. If there's too much chocolate, it just pools underneath and makes the pretzel rods look messy. Holding the pretzel rod above the cookie sheet, sprinkle with toffee bits, sprinkles etc. while turning the pretzel so that you coat all of the sides. Set on the parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to harden (20 minutes to half an hour). Wrap in clear cellophane bags (found at Michael's, JoAnn's, AC Moore etc.) and tie with a pretty ribbon. Attach a Barnes and Noble gift card and you've got the perfect holiday teacher gift. Woo hoo!
Coming Next: Tenderloin-a-Palooza!