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Chocolate Pretzel Chews

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pretzel chews
(C) 2008 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Chocolate Pretzel Chews are a riot of flavors and textures, balancing sweet, salty, crunchy, and chewy elements. A small pretzel is covered with chewy caramel, topped with a layer of sunflower seeds, then the whole package is dipped in melted chocolate and decorated with more seeds.

This recipe yields 2 dozen candies. While it can be doubled or tripled, it is easiest to assemble only 2 dozen of these candies at a time. The recipe requires the caramels to be soft and somewhat melted, and the caramel tends to harden too early when making very large numbers of these candies.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 24 pretzels in a square grid shape (sometimes called "Pretzel Snaps")
  • 24 soft caramels
  • 8 ounces (about 1.25 cups) milk chocolate or milk chocolate candy coating
  • 1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds

Preparation:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil. Place 24 pretzel squares in even intervals on the baking sheet.

2. Top each pretzel with an unwrapped soft caramel. Don’t worry if it does not appear to ‘fit’ the pretzel precisely.

3. Place the caramel pretzels in the oven for exactly two minutes. While the candy is in the oven, place the sunflower seeds in a small shallow bowl.

4. Remove the sheet from the oven immediately after 2 minutes, you don’t want the caramels to get too hot or melted. Immediately pick up one of the pretzels, being careful not to burn yourself on the warm baking sheet, and press it, caramel-side down, into the bowl of sunflower seeds. The pressure should make the caramel spread out and cover the top of the pretzel, and also embed a layer of seeds into the caramel.

5. Working quickly, repeat with remaining caramel pretzels until all of them have an even spreading of caramel and are topped with a layer of sunflower seeds.

6. Place the tray of candy in the refrigerator to firm up the caramel layer while you prepare the chocolate. Temper the chocolate or melt the chocolate candy coating. (This is one instance when you absolutely want to either temper the chocolate, or use chocolate candy coating. The caramel is best at room temperature, but untempered milk chocolate has a tendency to get soft and sticky at room temperature.)

7. Once the chocolate is ready, begin to dip the candies. Balance a pretzel on a fork and lower it into the melted chocolate, submerging it completely. Bring it out of the chocolate and drag the bottom of the fork over the lip of the chocolate bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place the candy back on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining candies and chocolate. If desired, you can decorate the tops of the candies with leftover sunflower seeds while the chocolate is still wet.

8. If you are using candy coating or tempered chocolate, allow the candies to set at room temperature before serving. If you use regular melted chocolate, place them in the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Be aware that the caramels get hard in the refrigerator, so this candy is best served at room temperature. Candies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

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