Monday, October 13, 2008

The Super Snack Couple: Pretzels and Chocolate

(ARA) - Quick -- what packs antioxidants, nutrients like magnesium, calcium and copper, fiber and grains while satisfying sweet and salty cravings and serving as a convenient, portable treat? It’s a match made in snacking heaven: the pairing of pretzels and chocolate.

Even better, there are scores of potential partnerships that bring out the best of both foods, depending on the type of chocolate and pretzel and any embellishments. Pretzel and chocolate fans of all ages can satisfy their hankering by picking up a snack at their local supermarket. Pretzel Dips from Snyder’s of Hanover, for example, are available in milk chocolate, white chocolate, special dark chocolate and chocolate peanut butter and have quickly become a hot product line.

For those who want to try their hand at home, chocolate and pretzel snacks are also easy to make. Indeed, the biggest challenge is deciding what match-up to try first.

* Sticking with Tradition: Visit any candy store or bake sale and you’re likely to see perennially popular chocolate-dipped pretzel rods. They are simple to create. First, slowly melt the contents of one bag of chocolate chips or melting discs (milk, dark or white chocolate all work well) in a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl. Be careful when handing hot chocolate around youngsters. Next, using small tongs or holding on to the edge on the side, lower the bottom 2/3 of the pretzel rod into the melted chocolate and twist the rod until it’s coated with the chocolate. Finally, lay the rod on wax paper and let the chocolate set. Optional: After the chocolate sets slightly but does not harden, roll the rod in the topping of your choice, like sprinkles, miniature candies, colored sugar, mini-marshmallows cut in half or chopped peanuts.

* Decadent Double Dipping: For an even more indulgent treat, twirl pretzel rods in peanut butter first, then dip or roll in melted chocolate. Or dip pretzels in warm caramel, roll in chopped nuts and dip in melted chocolate. Finish with a drizzle of melted white chocolate.

* Bark Better Than Bite: Mix instead of dip. Put pretzels (minis and homestyle work well) in a zippered plastic bag. Break the pretzels using the palm of your hand or a wooden spoon and set aside. Melt chocolate chips (again, any variety/flavor) using a microwave or double boiler and stir until smooth. Add pretzel pieces to the pot or bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture into a jelly roll pan and spread with a metal spatula or the back of a spoon until even. Place in the refrigerator to harden for at least a half hour. When ready to eat or serve, remove the bark from the fridge and break the bark into pieces (irregular or jagged sizes are fine). Refrigerate again in an airtight container. Optional: Add chopped nuts or candies for extra variety.

* Seasons Eatings: For the holidays, Snyder’s of Hanover has developed a special pretzel wreath recipe that’s perfect for serving or bringing as a gift. Slowly melt chocolate chips over low heat in a small saucepan or in a microwave-safe bowl and stir until smooth. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and place five mini-pretzels in a circle shape, with the bottom of the pretzels -- the end that has one hole -- on the outside of the ring. Take one pretzel at a time from the circle and dip the side halfway into the melted chocolate. Then place it back into the circle. Form a second layer by dipping five additional pretzels, one by one, in the chocolate. Place them over the newly formed wreath, so that coated holes overlap two bottom pretzels. Decorate with desired toppings, while the coating is still soft. Refrigerate until coating is firm, about 15 minutes.

If you’re willing to part with them, chocolate-covered pretzels make ideal gifts for the holidays or special occasions. Once chocolate is set and hardened, wrap pretzels in cellophane or plastic wrap and secure with a festive bow. Or carefully fill a glass jar with pretzels, cover and decorate the top with ribbons, bows or fabric. Pretzels will keep at least a month when sealed or refrigerated, but it’s likely they won’t last that long.

For more delicious pretzel recipes visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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