For the past ten years I have been making chocolate covered pretzels and giving them out for Christmas gifts and parties. This is the first year I have decided to try a few new things since I finally have a nice big kitchen! I have had some nightmarish episodes of throwing trays of pretzels across the room because I did not have the right equipment or space. Now that I am more experienced in my confectionary making, I thought this year I would try making dark chocolate covered orange slices.
Most people who know me, know I am an orange candy fanatic. I almost love those candy jelly orange slices as much as I love chocolate. So I bought a few bags and dipped half of the candy slice in dark chocolate. I had to sit down and regroup for a minute after tasting these. Heavenly. Oh yes, quite heavenly.
My big dilemma over the years is storage. I used to throw the pretzels in a plastic zip lock and throw them in the fridge but the chocolate tends to get scratched and makes the candy look a little unattractive. I have also spread them out on a serving tray and covered them in saran wrap or foil but, you cannot lay anything on top. You end up running out of room fast. This year I was smart and got myself a nice big and deep (oooh I just got excited) tupperware container. I lined it with paper towels and covered it with the candy side by side. Then, I placed another layer of paper towels on top of the candy and made another layer of candy. I did this until I reached the top, placed the lid on tight and Wallah! I have scratch free compact storage til the candy is ready to get placed in bags or trays. I try to plate them at the last minute to keep them fresh.
Many people swear by using a double boiler to melt their chocolate. What a mess! 2 pots? No way! I use a plain old saucepan and keep the heat on low. I stir frequently until all the chocolate has just melted. It works like a charm except for the peanut butter candy melts. For some reason I have had bad luck with these guys. They just get too clumpy. I tried microwaving them but last year I burnt the candy and a microwave safe bowl. I love drizzling peanut butter over my chocolate covered pretzels but it is not worth the aggravation anymore.
I am going to try a caramel drizzle and some sea salt tomorrow since that is my new favorite thing to pair with chocolate! I did realize tonight that I have to let the pan cool and dry completely after washing out before I make another batch or it gets clumpy. I had a few clumps in one batch and I did not want to cover the pretzels in chocolate that was lumpy looking so instead of getting mad and chucking it out the window, I had an idea...PEANUTS! I grabbed a few cups of salted peanuts and threw them in the sauce pan of chocolate. I stirred it all up until the nuts were covered (remember to always cover your nuts) and dolloped big spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Behold! The peanut cluster!!! This year I also decided to get a little crazy and sprinkle the pretzel salt that sits at the bottom of the pretzel rod container over the chocolate covered pretzels. My husband is either going to love it or be mad that he has no pretzel salt this year to pour on top of his ice cream.
So that is the Yummy part of my blog, now for something rummy. A friend of mine recently asked me if I have ever heard of Rumchada. I was surprised I had not heard of this so I Googled it and discovered that Rumchada is a rum drink made with sweet cream and cinnamon. Oh yummy rummy! I ran out to the big discount liquor store today that has a huge rum selection and they had not heard of it. I decided to look in the cordial and special drink section where they keep the cream liquors. I did not find Rumchada but I did find Cruzan Rum Cream. I bought a bottle and took a sip in the parking lot (paper bag still on, of course cuz I was feeling ghetto). It was absolutely delicious! Very similar to Bailys but rummier!!!