My sweet baby girl is finally here! She was born on Tuesday and everything went great. She was even two pounds smaller than my little man (who was practically born man-sized) so we are all happy and amazed that the "Dorie diet" worked! I remember reading Jess's post that they thought their new child must be at least half unsalted butter and bittersweet chocolate after all the Dorie treats made and consumed during her pregnancy. I think my little miss is about the same, the other half being Paradise Bakery chocolate chip cookies, watermelon, and caramelized onions (yay for pregnancy cravings! at least I didn't eat those foods all together...)
I have to run and try to sleep while she is sleeping and my husband has my little man, but I felt a little vain just posting a picture and no recipe, so I'm including my favorite caramel wrapped chocolate dipped pretzels. In a last crazy pregnant fit I made these Monday afternoon. They are simple and really visually impressive- not to mention delicious. Please pardon the picture- I took it about 12 hours after I had the baby since I didn't make enough of these "visitor treats" and was worried they were going to be gone before I got a photo at all! We share them with the doctors and nurses and people who came to visit. It was a lot of fun and considering you could make and freeze them in advance, not too much of an endeavor. Unless you're crazy like me and would like to spend your last afternoon before having a baby wrapping caramel and dipping chocolate. :)
A few notes-
I use Peter's Caramel which you can order online. It comes in a 5 pound box and lasts a very long time, staying soft and delicious. It's about $4 or 5 a pound and a little goes a long way. I think the taste and ease of use is worth it, but you could certainly substitute Kraft caramels.
This time I used both white and milk chocolate so people have a choice. The flavor really comes out so I would use Ghiradelli or something else delicious, since you'll really notice it.
For the pink drizzle, I melted white chocolate with a couple of red Wilton candy melts (find those at Michael's or any craft store in the candy making aisle) to attain the pink color. I poured the mixture into a squeeze bottle and stored that in a glass of hot water so it maintained it's temperature while I made all the pretzels.
Kate's Caramel Wrapped Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
1 Bag of Pretzel Rods
1 Pound of Peter's Caramel (or Kraft if you can't find Peter's, but it's worth finding- locally you can get it at Shar's in Gilbert or at ABC Cake Decorating in Phoenix)
2 Cups of Chocolate Chips (or chopped chocolate) plus more for drizzling
2 Tablespoons Crisco (plain shortening, not the evil butter flavored kind, it creeps me out!)
Sprinkles for decorating
Make a double boiler by placing a glass bowl over a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water. Place over medium low heat, watching to make sure the water doesn't touch the glass or condensate into the bowl. Pour in the chocolate, add the Crisco, and stir occasionally until smooth and combined. Reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, cut the caramel into about one inch cubes. Using your hands, roll each piece into a "snake" like you used to do with play doh. When your caramel is about eight inches long, press the end onto the top of the pretzel and wrap it around the rod, forming a spiral. Leave enough pretzel exposed to dip it later. Set all the wrapped pretzels onto a parchment or Silpat lined cooling rack.
Once the pretzels are all covered, dip into the chocolate, being careful to cover all of the caramel and drip off the excess chocolate. Lay the rod back on the baking sheet and proceed with the rest, working with about 10 at a time. Drizzle with a contrasting color of melted chocolate, if desired, then add sprinkles. Working with a few at a time ensures the chocolate isn't set before you do the decorating. After they are dipped, place the cooling rack in the fridge to set.
When pretzels are set, place in cellophane bags and tie. These keep well for a few days but will last longer than your self control in the freezer.