Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods are a sweet and salty treat that is easily customizable for any holiday or occasion and fun for kids to help make too! These Christmas chocolate covered pretzel rods are going to be packaged up and shared as gifts with my girls’ school friends this year!
Chocolate covered pretzels rods are a great idea for any holiday, not just Christmas. All it takes are holiday-themed sprinkles or colorful candy melts and you’ve got a perfectly cute and delicious treat appropriate for Valentine’s Day or Halloween or the 4th of July! You can even call them chocolate covered pretzel “wands” for Halloween or “sparklers” for the 4th of July!
What Type of Chocolate to Use for Chocolate Covered Pretzels
For something like chocolate covered pretzels, you can use almost any kind of chocolate or chocolate-like products that are available such as colored candy melts or almond bark. I might have gone with red or green candy melts for these Christmas chocolate covered pretzels if I didn’t already have pounds (literally bricks and bags) of semisweet and white chocolate on hand that was passed on to me by my mother-in-law who had it leftover from a previous candy-making endeavor and wasn’t planning on using it.
Pounds of leftover chocolate you say? Yes I can definitely find a use for that!
While candy melts work great for these treats, my honest preference is to use real, actual chocolate as the dipping base and then maybe use colored candy melts to drizzle over top. When a treat is as simple as just pretzels and melted chocolate, I like to get the best quality chocolate I can find for a decent price.
I almost always source my chocolate from Trader Joe’s, which sells big bars of it for a very reasonable price. But you can buy any size bars of chocolate from your favorite grocery store or even order chocolate on Amazon.
The only thing I do NOT like to use for chocolate covered pretzel rods are chocolate chips, which have ingredients added that prevent them from melting the same as a bar of chocolate or candy melts. It’s doable and I’ve used the trick of melting them with a little shortening, but I don’t like it as well as the other options mentioned above. Melted chocolate chips also don’t set up as hard as real chocolate either, which can also be problematic and just doesn’t result in as good of a finished product for these treats.
Melting Chocolate in a Crock Pot
I love melting chocolate in a crock pot because I can melt different types of chocolate at the same time. Plus, it stays melted while I’m working with it. The trickiest part is making sure not to get any water in any of the jars of chocolate, since it will cause the chocolate to seize up.
First, fill clean, tall, heat-safe jars with chopped chocolate or candy melts. Then set them into the crock pot and carefully fill the crock pot with hot water until it’s about halfway up the sides of the jars.
Turn the crock pot on high and let the chocolate sit for about 30 minutes without covering. You can use a long handled spoon to stir the chocolate as it melts. I kept adding chopped chocolate to the already melted chocolate since a full jar of solid chopped chocolate only turns out to be half-full once the chocolate is melted.
Once the chocolate is melted, turn the temperature on the crock pot down to low or warm. If the water stays too hot and you are working with white chocolate, it can actually cause the chocolate to seize.
You can speed up the process by melting the chocolate in the double boiler or with short 20 seconds bursts of heat in the microwave and then just transferring to the crock pot filled partway with hot water to keep the chocolate warm while working with it.
I’ve done this with white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and semisweet chocolate, and I’ve heard that you can also melt peanut butter chips this way and use those as a coating too. You can either leave the jars in the slow cooker and dip that way, or remove the jars as you need them and wipe them off with a towel so you don’t drip water.
Just make sure not to get any water in your other jars of chocolate if you are taking a jar out to work with it!
The biggest downside to this approach is that you will end up with jars that are partially filled with melted chocolate but not enough to dip more pretzels. If you plan ahead, you can just pour any remaining melted chocolate over nuts or drizzle over popcorn or use it coat regular-size pretzels knots.
To clean the jars, just use a rubber spatula to get most of the chocolate out and then stick them in the dishwasher.
How to Make Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
There isn’t much technique to this activity, but your success can hinge on using a tall enough container for dipping the pretzel rods. You want something tall and narrow like a glass cup or straight-sided mason jar, rather than a bowl.
The only problem with this approach is that if you are dipping lots and lots of pretzels, the level of the chocolate will go down fairly quickly. I found it was easiest for melt enough chocolate to fill up one jar, then have more melted chocolate on hand to refill the jar as needed as the level went down. Hence, the multiple jars of the same types of chocolate in the pictures of the crock pot below. While we worked with one jar, the other held chopped chocolate that was in the process of melting down.
Be sure to shake excess chocolate off each pretzel before transferring them to a parchment lined baking sheet. This is actually the most tedious part of the process and the one I had to help my 3 year old with since she couldn’t quite get enough of the chocolate off to prevent puddles from forming around the pretzel rods once they were laid flat on the sheet for decorating. My 6 year old got the hang of it quickly though!
The pretzels set up just fine at room temperature, although to speed up the process and clear some space since we were making A LOT of chocolate covered pretzel rods to give as gifts, I moved trays out to our cold garage while we worked, which made them set up even faster.
How to Store Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Since we were planning to give these away as gifts for my daughters’ first grade and preschool classes and were going out of town for a wedding the weekend before, we had to make them a few days in advance of their parties.
Like any pretzels, if left out very long, chocolate covered pretzels can become stale. But storing or packaging them can help prevent or at least delay that from happening to your beautifully decorated chocolate covered pretzel rods.
The easiest way is to store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Provided everything is fresh to begin with and the container is clean, dry, and has a tight seal, partially covered pretzel rods like the ones we made can stay fresh for about 2-3 weeks. If you are doing regular knotted pretzels and covering them entirely in chocolate, they will last even longer!
If you want an even more in depth look at how to properly temper chocolate (which I don’t typically bother to do when making chocolate covered pretzel rods, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt!), then check out this post about making chocolate covered strawberries.
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Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods are a sweet and salty treat that is easily customizable for any holiday or occasion and fun for kids to help make too! Perfect for Christmas, Valentine's Day, the 4th of July, Halloween, or almost any occasion!
- 1 (16 ounce) bag of pretzel rods
- 16 ounces chopped milk, semisweet, dark or white chocolate or candy melts
- Sprinkles, mini M&M's, coconut, toffee bits, chopped nuts, etc.
Melt the chocolate by filling clean, tall heat safe jars with chopped chocolate or candy melts. Set them into the crock pot and carefully fill the crock pot with hot water until it's about halfway up the sides of the jars, being careful not to get any water into the jars with the chocolate at any time.
Set the crock pot temperature to high and let the chocolate sit for about 30 minutes without covering. Use a long handled spoon to stir the chocolate as it melts.
Once the chocolate is melted, turn the temperature on the crock pot down to low or warm.
Dip pretzel rods into the melted chocolate, shaking off any excess chocolate before transferring them to a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with whatever toppings you desire before the chocolate has a chance to set, then let the chocolate fully harden before storing in an airtight container.
You can also speed up the process by melting the chocolate in the double boiler or with short 20 seconds bursts of heat in the microwave and then just transferring to the crock pot filled partway with hot water to keep the chocolate warm while working with it.
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