Monday, December 19, 2011

Dipping Pretzels is Awful

I think the title says it all, but let me spell it all out for you in detail.

A couple years ago I got a hair up my butt (pretty picture, huh?!) to make cookies for friends, family & neighbors.  I made loads of cookies of all different kinds.  One of the kinds was pretzels dipped in almond bark.  

I was inspired to do this cookie making by attending a "cookie making party" a friend of mine was having.  Let me tell you, it is much different when you have 15 sets of hands making cookies than when you have 1 set.  MUCH different.

But when friends & family actually indulged in said cookies, I got a pretty strong response regarding the dipped pretzels.  Apparently they are a favorite of both my husband and my brother.  All the other cookies were fine, but those were gobbled up the fastest.

Last year I never got the cookie making bug.  At all.  There were no cookies at the Christian house other than the few that trickled in as gifts from others.

This year, I decided to make a few kinds, but keep it pretty small.  One kind I determined would be the dipped pretzels.  As Jake is now gluten free, I'd stumbled upon a decent sale a couple months ago on gluten free pretzels and saved them just for this purpose.  And then I bought regular pretzels since the gluten free pretzels must be made out of gold for how much they cost.  No way am I serving those to just anybody!

And last Monday I set about making cookies.  I spent all morning on my "few" kinds of cookies.  And this is what I determined:  dipping pretzels is THE most tedious, awful part of it all.  I absolutely abhor it.  I did a few of both regular and gluten free, then used the rest of the melted almond bark to dip some Oreo ball cookies (mash up a whole package of Oreos, mix with softened cream cheese, roll into balls and dip into melted almond bark = amazingness).  

Since I had many more pretzels to use up, I bought more almond bark and decided that either Jake would have to help me so he'd know how much it sucks to make them & truly appreciate me more than ever OR we'd have to figure out something entirely new.  I chose option B.  

I chose to make Pretzel Bark instead.  I melted the almond bark, spread it out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and then dropped the pretzels and a few holiday M&M's in.  I pressed the pretzels down to really "set".  Then I let it cool for several hours and broke it up into pieces.  

I don't really have large cookie sheets without sides, so it was hard for me to spread the melted almond bark out real thin.  The bark ended up being rather thick in spots.  This might be a problem for people that want more pretzel than bark, but my husband was pretty excited about it.  

Another way to use up pretzels is Pretzel Turtles:  line a cookie sheet with tin foil, spread out pretzels, place an unwrapped Rolo candy on each pretzel, bake at 250 degrees for 2-3 minutes (just til the candy is soft), then remove from the oven and press a pecan half onto each candy.  They look just like little turtles, especially if you use the round pretzels!  But I like to use the waffle shaped pretzels - better surface area coverage.

Since Jake doesn't like caramel that much, we tried miniature Reese's peanut butter cups this year and replaced the pecan halves with holiday M&M's.  THIS WAS NOT ENTIRELY SUCCESSFUL.  The PB cups were MUCH more expensive - you don't get nearly as many for the money - and a bit too large for the pretzels.  And the chocolate melts way too much but the peanut butter doesn't get soft at all really.  They looked really messy too. Kind of like melted ice cream sundaes.  But they tasted pretty good.  Just way too expensive for the payoff.

Do you have any tedious holiday recipes that others just love?  Do you give into the pressure to please them?  Or have you found a great shortcut instead?

Happy Holidays, all!