Caramel Candy Pretzel Rods

My friend Michelle and I turned her kitchen into a candy factory last night. She’s having 50+ people over tomorrow for her daughter’s birthday/graduation party. There will be carnitas, homemade guacamole, beans, rice and platters of Caramel Candy Pretzel Rods for dessert. Michelle found a million different recipes online and she ended up combining a few. She ran around like a mad woman yesterday gathering the pretzels, toppings, trays, storage containers, chocolate, caramel, etc. She was very grateful to find most of the toppings in the bin food section of the grocery store.

14 oz. of Caramel (We ended up using close to 3 lbs. to do 115 with some mistakes)
1 tbsp. Water for every 14 ozs. of Caramel
Costco size bag of Semi-sweet chocolate chips – used entire bag (a 16 oz. bag would work for one bag of pretzels)
Package of Long Pretzel Rods – FYI – Rold Gold has 10 more rods in a pack compared to Snyder’s (We used 4 bags)
1 Cup Mini M&M’s – We used a huge bin bag
Crushed Toffee Bits – We used 2 packages of Health bar pieces
Chopped up peanuts – 1/2 a produce bag full from the bins
Sprinkles – buy way more than you think you will need – those go fast.

I unwrapped a million pieces of caramel (major sticky fingers) and then we got our toppings arranged into containers. Michelle got the trays set up with wax paper and she had read online about using plastic microwaveable cups (Dollar Tree find) to microwave the caramel so you could just dip the rods right into the cups. This worked out really well. We did 7 oz. at a time and added 1/2 tbsp. of water to each cup before microwaving. Once the pretzels were dipped into the caramel, we gave them a twist in the cup and used the edge of the cup to help cut down on excess caramel. We then placed them on the wax paper to set – about 10 minutes for each set.

Be careful when removing them from the wax paper – if you just pull from one end without twisting, the rods might break.

We then got the chocolate started. We had the brilliant idea of using the cups to melt the semi-sweet chips too. Tip of the day – don’t ever let choc. touch water if you want it to melt. Yikes – we ruined 14 oz. of semi-sweet chips. Michelle saved the day – she got a make shift double boiler up and running. We set the heat to medium low and let the melting begin.

Jen Curran of Fanny and Jane – I have mad respect for your baking skills and patience. Michelle and I “so sucked” at waiting for the chocolate to melt. It was torture, LOL.

We had an assembly line going. Michelle had caramel, I had chocolate and one of Michelle’s daughter’s had the topping station.

The chocolate had to be put on the rods with a rubber spatula – the bowl wasn’t deep enough for dipping and we found that we used way less with that method. After getting them coated, I did the hand-off for the toppings.

Anyone who tries to tell you that this isn’t sticky/messy… they are lying. My fingers were coated in caramel, chocolate and at one point I had sprinkles stuck to my wrist and shirt. Awesome. Once we got in a groove, we cranked them out like an assembly line. 2.5 hours on my feet coating pretzels was a bit much for my back. Towards the end, I sat out and photographed stuff while Michelle and her daughter pressed on. Once the toppings were added to the pretzel rods, we put trays of 20 into the fridge for about 10 minutes each to help them set. This worked well – minus having every condiment on the counter to make room.

They looked like little soldiers lined up on the table. I think they will be a hit at the party.  I now have a new appreciation for the amount of work that goes into these babies. The original recipe estimated about 20 minutes to make an entire package of pretzels. They were obviously professionals… because wow, it probably took me that long to unwrap the caramels, hah!

You could customize them in holiday colors – we had grand plans to make some white chocolate ones or to use melted white chocolate chips to drizzle over the tops. When it hit 10:30 PM – that idea flew out the window. Michelle mentioned adding pink food coloring for a little girl’s birthday party or Valentine’s Day – super cute.

I know from posting a picture on Facebook, that some of you have already made these – any tips to share? What toppings did you use?

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    • Deb on June 19, 2010 at 7:22 am

    We made these and they are so fun. You can crush candy canes for Christmas. Also coconut is good. Melt some white chocolate and drizzle on the milk chocolate. Super good and they look really cool.

    1. I bet the girls had a lot of fun making them, crushed candy canes would be yummy! Gotta get the drizzle down for next time. Thanks Deb!

    • Susi on June 19, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Awesome looking pretzels. They look like the expensive store bought ones. I’m getting so many great ideas from your blog for my next kids parties so thank you for that!

    1. Thanks Susi! Since I don’t have any kids, but love a great party and planning, I jump in whenever needed. I just found your blog from you commenting on mine, and I’m loving’ it. Can’t wait to try some of your recipes.

    • The Pod on June 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Hi, are you sure the water amount is correct…seems like it should be 1 tbsp for each OUNCE…but what do I know….Anyhow, they sure look like fun..

    1. It’s definitely 1 tablespoon… Just a tiny bit makes a difference in the consistency, it worked out great for the caramel, was a disaster when water hit the chocolate, kind of like the chocolate fountain we attempted for your big birthday.

    • Gina on June 19, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Hi Foo…I was a lurker/occassional commenter on your other blog and have been out of the blogging scene myself for a while. I was happy to see that you shared your new one with your followers. I have to say, your new blog is wonderful! Your photos are amazing and I plan on trying some recipes you’ve shared. Seriously, your pictures could be in any food magazine, they are fabulous! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. I definitely remember you from the old blog! Great to see you back in the blogging world and thanks so much for stopping by the new digs. I’m having so much fun, glad you like it!

    • Hilly on June 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Those look amazing and awesome and um, in my head I am reminding myself that I am on a diet, haha.

    I am so impressed by all of your skills. In case I don’t say it enough, I kinda think you’re amazing.

    1. Awww…thanks Hilly!

    • Steph on June 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Do you know what store the Heath bits came from? I can’t seem to find them anymore in my grocery store. I use them when I make the WW version of Better Than Sex Cake, but I usually have to buy a bunch of candy bars and then crush them myself. Do-able, but would be easier if I could buy them pre-crushed.

    By the way – the pretzel rods look amazing and so yummy!

    1. Got them at a local grocery store. I’ll double check with Michelle on which one. I can always ship them 😉

    • kristen on June 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I was at the party on Saturday, so I was able to indulge in these sinful treats. A tray was placed on our table and we all grabbed for the Heath one’s. One person even got up and went into the house to get a Heath one when we ran out. I also tried the mini M&M one…so YUMMY!

    I have had the white chocolate with dark chocolate drizzle one’s before which was good too. The perfect tool for drizzling is the v-shaped cutter from Pampered Chef. You dip it into the dark chocolate and then flick it back and forth over the dried white chocolate.

    1. I didn’t even try one – glad to know that the Heath was the party winner!

    • Aim on June 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    wow, those look super delicious 🙂 One Christmas last year I made them for my office and I had been told I could melt the chocolate in a glass bowl (in the microwave) and the tip I was told was to put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the bowl after it melted and stir so it doesn’t harden…. it worked like a charm!! Yes, it was a mess… I never did the caramel coated just the chocolate..I for sure want to try the caramel next time…YUM

    1. Awesome choc. tip, thanks Aim!

  1. […] to plan, but remember back in June when my girlfriend Michelle and I got together for a marathon candy pretzel making session for her daughter’s graduation party? Yep, that’s what I set out to make […]

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