Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Peanut Toffee

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Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday. Ours was pretty quiet, which was good because all three of us got sick, one after the other – always a great way to spend one’s vacation. We have this week left to try to get as many things crossed off our to-do list as possible. We’re not holding our breath that they’ll all get done, but we’ll do our best.

In the meantime, here’s a quick little toffee recipe to help you combat those mid-winter blahs. I doubled the recipe, which I would not recommend, because the toffee sets so quickly it’s hard to get both batches flattened out on the pans fast enough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put it aside for a bit.

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In a heavy saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water.

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Attach a candy thermometer to the side and heat that over medium until it reads 300°F. Try to avoid stirring as much as possible, and if you do, don’t use a metal spoon – wood or silicone will prevent premature crystallization.

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Next to the pot, place a little container of 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and another of 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. You’ll need to have those handy at short notice later on.

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While you’re keeping an eye on the sugar, crush up about 1 1/2 cups pretzel twists.I also had some salted peanuts on hand so I crushed and dumped those in as well – probably about 3/4 cup salted peanuts.

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And gather up 1 cup chocolate chips. I mixed mine with some dark chocolate for flavour.

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When your sugar has caramelized and gotten to the hard crack stage (that’s 300°F), remove it from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Try to resist screaming as it fizzes up and gets all terrifying. I promise that will pass.

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EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Toss in the pretzels and peanuts and stir the toffee quickly.

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Then tip it out onto your parchment sheet and flatten it down as much as you can before it starts to set.

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Sprinkle the chocolate evenly over the top of the toffee and let it stand for a few minutes while the chocolate melts.

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Then smooth out the melted chocolate with a spatula.

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Sprinkle the top of the chocolate with fleur de sel and let harden in the refrigerator for about an hour.

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Once it’s hardened, break it up into chunks and eat it all by yourself! share it with your friends and family.

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Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites

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Cait and I made these on one of our baking evenings where we wanted to put in as little effort as possible. While it’s inspired by this recipe, I had trouble locating large amounts of the ingredients it required so I ended up changing things around. My process shots for this are also terrible and blurry, and for that I apologize, but you can probably figure out how to make these for yourself without them. They are a quick and easy contribution to a potluck, picnic, or gift, and are simple enough that you can do this with small children if they want to make their own gifts.

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Start with a bunch of pretzels. Lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 250°F.

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On top of each pretzel, place one chocolate-covered caramel. The original recipe called for Rolo candies, but I could only find the miniature ones at Bulk Barn so I opted for these salted chocolate caramels instead and while they were wildly expensive, they were totally worth it.

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Grab a number of pecan halves equal to the number of pretzels and caramels and set them aside. Pop the tray with the caramel-topped pretzels into the oven and leave it there for 5 minutes or so, until the chocolate is melty and the caramel is squishy. The time it will be in the oven is dependent on the size and type of your caramel.

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Pull the pan out of the oven and press a pecan half into each caramel. Cait was concerned about the structural integrity of the underlying pretzel so she was unwilling to squish the pecan and caramel down with any force. As a result, when the ones she made were cooled, the pretzel came off the bottom and chaos ensued. So make sure to press the pecan down firmly into the caramel and in doing so, push the caramel into the pretzel to hold everything in place.

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Set those aside to cool and harden, then store in airtight containers until you eat them all.

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You can see that we have our festive Christmas tins ready to go here. I know it’s February, but tins are tins are tins, right?

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Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

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The Pie, like many boys out there, has a strong addiction to peanut butter.  He’s not a huge fan of peanut butter cookies, feeling that they’re often too dry, but this recipe was odd enough that he thought we should give it a shot.

For this, in addition to peanut butter, we’re also going to use peanut butter chips.  The Hershey’s Kitchen recipes are great because they tell you to just go ahead and use a whole package of those chips.  We’re also going to use this whole 320g back of pretzels.  The recipe calls for 4-5 cups broken pretzels and so I thought 5 cups was too much and would use the whole bag but I ended up regretting my decision and I should have done the whole lot.

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Anyway, break up your pretzels until you have about 5 cups broken pretzel pieces.

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Now, preheat your oven to 350°F and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 1 cup softened butter with 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and keep going until it’s all lovely and fluffy.

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Then add in 2/3 cup peanut butter (I used smooth but I bet this would be good with crunchy) and beat that up as well.

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Next toss in 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix until combined.

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In another bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda and then add that gradually to the rest of your dough in the mixer.

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Finally, stir in 1 2/3 cups peanut butter chips (this is a whole 300g/10oz package, by the by).

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Now grab some of your lovely dough and roll it into a small ball about 1 1/2″ wide.  Mine in this shot is a little on the big side.

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Roll the ball of dough in your pretzel pieces and gently press the pretzels into the dough.  Flatten the ball slightly onto your baking sheet.

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I made these ones too big and they took forever to cook (and I could only do eight per sheet) so I made the rest of them significantly smaller.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are light brown around the edges.  They don’t expand or flatten much.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet before removing them to a rack to cool completely.

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Salty and sweet.  A hit as always.