Need a last minute Valentine's Day recipe that's no fuss? How about chocolate-covered mini pretzel sticks with sprinkles? They're guaranteed to be a big hit for the entire family.
On a junk scale, chocolate-covered mini pretzel sticks are surprisingly low. That's because of their size. When it comes to dessert-and there's no mistaking these chocolate bombs for "snacks"-it's all about portion size.
To be clear, I don't think babies or toddlers need a lot of sugar, so I always go for low sugar versions of even birthday cakes. But as the brood gets bigger, we'll get a bit more decadent. We'll be French about it. I want to teach the kids something I didn't learn until my 30s: allowing yourself one small portion of something truly satisfying (rich, fatty, sweet, maybe even salty) is the best way to avoid eating an entire bag of cookies. Truth.
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There's also something of a real food element here. Pretzels are mostly flour and salt. You add some nice chocolate (we used Ghirardelli) and a pat of butter. The real renegades here are those sprinkles. Sugar and food coloring. But that's why these are a sometimes treat.
The butter is a small pat, really just enough to make the chocolate a little softer, and a bit shiny. Either a teaspoon or tablespoon (which is easier to measure) will be fine. And if you want the chocolate to get more firm faster you can skip the butter altogether. Just be careful when you melt the chips in the microwave. Set it for 30 seconds at a time. A double boiler (a glass bowl over a simmering pan of water) is a foolproof method but takes longer.
Now, back to the pretzels. I also love that kids can make these, or at least help.
Estelle is turning four on Sunday and hosting a tea party. We'll serve these little beauties then.
Also, we did give it a go at the larger scale pretzels-those are headed for the kids' teachers. (Shhh.)
CHOCOLATE-COVERED PRETZEL STICKS WITH SPRINKLES
Use the highest quality chocolate you can find. It'll be the main flavor so try to get something rich and wonderful. We used 1 cup and had SO MUCH CHOCOLATE. I've reduced the quantity below, which would easily create 40 small pretzel sticks or 20 large.
Serves: 40 small pretzels
1/2 cup chocolate chips or broken chocolate
1 teaspoon butter
pretzels (use large sticks, small sticks or regular shaped pretzels)
baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Put the chocolate and butter together in a microwave safe container. We used a deep measuring cup to dip the ends in. Alternatively, use a shallow bowl to roll the ends of your pretzels in and you'll get more chocolate on further up. Microwave for 30 second intervals until the butter has melted and the chocolate is soft. Stir.
Have a bowl underneath your sprinkles so you can catch excess; consider a bowl for each type of sprinkles so you can pour those that spill back into the jar and re-use.
Arrange a baking sheet lined with parchment next to your sprinkles, pretzels and chocolate. Make an assembly line.
Dip a pretzel into the chocolate, let excess drip off then wipe one side against the bowl so it's flat.
Hold the pretzel over the bowl and either pour the sprinkles or use a spoon to ladle them on.
Set on the baking sheet.
Allow to set in fridge, for 20 minutes. To store, keep in an air-tight container in fridge.
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