15 March 2013

Class Birthday Treats - Chocolate Pretzels

Over the past weeks I've put some thought into what we could take to our The Bug's school class for her birthday. I wanted to find something that didn't involve me making a special trip to the school, interrupting the class time or food that needed to be served. I wanted something that could be very quickly handed out at the end of the day. So I came up with the idea of putting something in small packages with a cute handmade tag similar to what we did for our Valentine's Day school treats. Again all inspired by Gabby Blair at Design Mom

I didn't feel like baking and wanted to come up with something simple that was somewhat sturdy. So I decided to try to make chocolate covered pretzels. I worked in a chocolate factory in college so I figured it wouldn't be too hard to  figure it all out. The entire process took me about 4 hours but it was late, I was tired and was doing a lot of experimentation. I am sure I could cut my time down to less than 2 hours for the entire project now that I've done these once. Using the fridge to quickly cool the chocolate made a major difference in how fast I could get these done.

I bought four bags of Bavarian pretzels in hopes that out of all those bags I would be able to get 52 unbroken pretzels. You'll be entertained to hear that is exactly how many I got out of those four bags.  But I still have a ton of broken pretzels which I'm not thrilled about. If I were to do this again I would use the thick sticks. But for this project I just wanted to keep the bags small and square and the Bavarian pretzel shape seemed perfect for that. My budget for this project was about $22 but I probably could've saved a bundle going to Costco to buy one giant box of pretzels instead of four bags of trendy brand pretzels at the grocery store. My only costs were the pretzels, chocolate and small bags. I already have everything else I needed.

Here is the supply list:  Bavarian pretzels, chocolate candy-making wafers, plastic treat bags, paper and glue for tags and a stapler. I used two bags of white chocolate wafers and one bag of pink.

Here are the steps:

Step One: Sift through the pretzels to find the whole ones. I I figured two per treat bag and needed 26 bags.

Step Two: Put wax paper on cookie sheets to set dipped pretzels on to set up.

Step Three: Melt chocolate according to directions on the back of the bag. I used the microwave and it was great. I used a 2-cup glass liquid measuring cup to melt and dip the pretzels.

Step Four:  Dip pretzels in the melted chocolate and tap the flat bottom gently on the edge of the measuring cup to even out the chocolate and shake off excess. This tapping process really helps the chocolate settle and look much more uniform and pretty.

Step Five: Lay pretzels on the waxed paper and allow chocolate to firm up. Speed things up a lot by putting the cookie sheets in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. On the counter they will take considerable longer to firm up.

Step Six: While letting the chocolate on the pretzels firm up, start making the card tags. I used scrap cardstock I had so I had a nice bright array of colors and patterns. I used the paper cutter to keep my sizes all similar and sharp looking. I folded them all in half and made a very nice crease at the top with my bone folder.

Step Seven: Cut up small tags of light colored cardstock to write the message on. I knew that with the array of dark and patterned papers I was using for the card it would be very hard to write anything legible on them.

Step Eight: Stamped a pink flower in the corner of my little tags, wrote Happy Birthday and my daughter's name and used glue dots to attach them to the folded cards. I put the tags a little higher than middle on the cards so that I would have enough space to staple the tags onto the bag at the bottom of the card.

Step Nine: Melt pink chocolate to drizzle over the top of the white chocolate  I had to add about a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the chocolate to thin it a bit. Allow drizzled chocolate to firm up. Again use the fridge to speed things up. Apparently I am not that good of a drizzler. It took me until the very last couple of pretzels to really get it looking decent. But I'm just going to be okay with that because these are for six year old kids and they just want to gobble them up.

Step Ten: Put two pretzels in each bag, facing forward then staple the tag onto the top of the bag. And you're done.

I put them all in a pretty paper bag for her to take to school. I hope they will be enjoyed. I won't hesitate to make these again, but I will do things a little differently next time now that I've learned a few things. If you have any tips or decide to try these I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.

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