When we first became "poor", which was 15 years ago this month, I need to find an easy, inexpensive something to make for my Hubby and I to take to work and hand out to our Co-workers. Since both of us tended to work where there were loads of co-workers, I needed something that wouldnít break the bank for the 100 or so we needed. I finally happened upon carmel and chocolate covered pretzel rods at our local Mall. They ran from $2.50 to $4.00 each. Looked wonderful, but way too pricey. So I decided to DIM (do it myself). They have been a big success and my Hubby has people who anxiously wait for their Pretzel Rod each Christmas. So here is how I make Pretzel Rods for Christmas remembrance gifts. Letís get started.
Pretzel Rods (look for the bag with the least breakage, around $2.25/bag for 25-28 rods)
Carmels (get the carmel that is for dipping apples or the little individually wrapped square ones +/- $3/lb.)
Milk Chocolate (get good quality chocolate, not chocolate chips, they are not designed to melt, I look for chocolate meant for chocolate fountains, they really work)
White Chocolate (again get good quality)
Bowls (microwave safe)
First you lay out parchment paper onto a flat surface big enough to make lots of pretzel rods. You have to understand we are going to mass produce here. Nothing less than 50 will be made at a time, (Iím kidding, make as many or as few as you need).
Put on some Christmas music or a Christmas DVD to keep your mind busy while your hands unwrap a couple of pounds of carmel. It really doesnít take that long, but it seems like it. This alone is a good reason to buy carmel that is in a microwave tub (meant for carmel apple dipping, but you have to get it during Halloween, they are hard to come by at Christmas). You can go either way. If you buy a tub, follow the package directions.
If you unwrap carmel, add a tablespoon of water and microwave on high for 60 sec. Bring the bowl out of the microwave and stir. Nuke it for another minute, there should be some boiling going on, stir it well to get all the carmel melted and runny! Really I used both, when I ran out of one, I switched to the other.
Take the carmel over to where you have your parchment paper laid out. Stick one end of a rod into the carmel, and with the spoon spread the carmel over at least 3/4ths of the rod length. Use the back of the spoon to scrape any excess back into the bowl. Lay the rods with carmel on them on the parchment paper. Let them set. (It's really hard to take pictures when both hands are busy with the carmel.)
When they are all set, now is the time to add the chocolate. If you have chocolate that is ready to be melted and poured into a chocolate fountain, then you are all ready to go. If you do not have such chocolate, you will need to create such chocolate. Chop your chocolate into chucks. Start melting a double boiler or a microwave. For the double boiler, add a little oil and stir once in a while. In the microwave, add a little oil and nuke for 30 seconds, stir, nuke another 30 seconds and stir again, repeat until the chocolate is nice and smoooooth. If you are using chocolate chips because that is all you have, add a lot of oil, a little at a time.
Repeat for the white chocolate.
Take your melted, smoooooth chocolate to the place where the carmel covered rods are. Pick up a rod, (it should come right off the parchment paper), and stick the carmel covered end into the chocolate and use the spoon to over the carmel with the chocolate.
Hold the rod out of the chocolate and let it drip into the remaining, melted chocolate. Do this for half the rods.
Repeat this process, using the white chocolate for the other half of the rods. Let them sit until set.
Now these will be set before all the left over chocolate in the bowls totally sets. If you need too, remelt the chocolate, 30 sec. at a time in the microwave. Using the spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the milk chocolate covered rods and then drizzle the milk chocolate over the white chocolate covered rods. This is the extent I go to for decorating the rods. You may do as you want, sprinkle decors over the chocolate before it sets, or sprinkling crushed peppermint over the chocolate before it sets, etc. Theyíre your rods, do what you want with them. As far as I am concerned, Iím done.
Presentation: It is kind of tacky to hand an unwrapped rod to someone, so you will need to wrap them for presentation.
Pretzel rod bags (Wilton has them $3/50 bags or you can go here http://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-2379/Poly-Bags-Flat-Open/2-x-10-2-Mil-Industrial-Poly-Bags, and get 1,000 - 2"x10" bags for $23. Buy a carton, or not.)
Curling ribbon (your choice of color)
Labels (with you holiday message on it)
Place each chocolate covered pretzel rod in itsí own little bag.
Cut a piece of curling ribbon and tie off the top of the bag.
Using the scissors, curl the ends of the ribbon, and stick your message label on the back of the pretzel bag.
Stack them nicely in a basket or a box and take them to work to hand out to your co-workers. Or do as I do, and send them to work with your spouse so that he/she can hand them out to their co-workers.
If you happened to break any of the rods, now is the time to reward yourself by eating the broken one. Ummmmm! Great! Also, these little gems cost less than $.50 each. Enjoy!