How Do You Make Chocolate Covered Pretzels? | CoachSweetTooth

How Do You Make Chocolate Covered Pretzels?

The chocolate covered pretzel: a combination of crunch and creamy, sweet and salty, smooth and bumpy; a real party in your mouth. Whether you take the bite and crunch approach, or the melt in your mouth option, chocolate covered pretzels seldom disappoint.  Pretzels, which are made with a basic bread dough, have been around since the early middle ages. Chocolate as we know it, came much later but somehow the two got together and it has been a solid marriage ever since. Widely available in grocery aisles, it is also a popular made-at-home item, and a treat that widely appears during the holidays. Making your own chocolate dipped pretzels is easily customized to your personal preferences and creativity.

Though many of us enjoy the warm, soft pretzel that can be purchased at the ballpark or on the streets of NYC, the pretzels used for dipping or coating are generally hard and in the shape of a “rod” or small curved “pretzel” shape. A basic chocolate covered, or dipped pretzel can be made with two basic ingredients: a pretzel and some melted chocolate. Access to both is plentiful so it’s easy to get started.

Dipping a pretzel is relatively easy. Once you master that skill, you may wish to experiment with other flavors and methods. Keep reading for some ideas on how to embellish them, flavor or color your chocolate, add texture and taste, personalize, and display or present your goodies.

No one knows exactly when chocolate dipped pretzels were presented, but we do know that their popularity has gained in the last couple of decades in the US. I will never forget the first time I experienced the royal combination. My sister and I melted some chocolate chips and began the dipping, licking our fingers along the way, and eating many pretzels before the chocolate had hardened. We somehow managed to add some tiny nonpareils, which added yet another layer of crunch, sweetness, and texture on our tongues. Since then, I have worked with chocolate extensively and have produced roughly a tonnage of dipped pretzels, though my lack of restraint remains unchanged.

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What Kind of Pretzel Should I Use?

Any hardened pretzel can be coated in chocolate. However, there are two shapes that are particularly popular to dip. The first is a traditional signature shape that looks like a knot. Although they are available in various sizes and thicknesses, the “mini” pretzel is the most popular choice. It could be popped into the mouth whole. The other preferred dipping choice is the pretzel rod.

What Kind of Chocolate Should I Use?

Generally you have three choices, and all have some advantages. First, is the food craft candy often called candy disks, melting chocolate or candy bark. This chocolate is made with palm oil as its fat and does not require any preparation other than melting. It is easy to work with and very affordable.

The second obvious choice is chocolate chips. You can purchase white, milk, or dark chips as well as peanut butter and caramel flavored chips. Since these are formulated to hold their shape in a baked cookie, they often need to be thinned in order to use. The most common thinning agents are vegetable shortening and coconut oil (see my brilliant article about thinning chocolate). Generally 1-2 Tablespoons of added fat per bag of chocolate chips will do the trick. The plus side to using chocolate chips is that they are so readily available.

The last choice is using coverture, or “real” chocolate. This chocolate needs to be tempered (warmed and cooled to specific temperatures) before use. (See this article about tempering). The greatest benefit here is the taste, and the shiny, crisp texture of the chocolate.

To Dip or to Cover?

Most of the commercially produced pretzels are completely coated with chocolate. Pretzel rods, on the other hand, are often dipped about halfway. It comes down to personal preference on the pretzel/chocolate ratio. One consideration is that a dipped pretzel will leave room to grab the treat without the possibility of chocolate melting in your hand.

How Do I Dip/Cover Pretzels in Chocolate?

Besides the obvious chocolate and pretzel ingredients, you will want to gather any decorations and tools/equipment. Once coated, it takes pretzels approximately 5 minutes to harden or cool. These are best placed on parchment paper, wax paper, or even plastic wrap. I find it helpful to put the paper on a baking sheet in case you need to move them, or pop them in the refrigerator for a few minutes. With supplies at hand, you’re ready to melt your chocolate and begin the magic. (See article on how to melt chocolate). For dipping mini pretzels, choose a small bowl such as a custard dish. Dip at least half a pretzel and shake to remove any extra chocolate that might otherwise create a puddle. Place the pretzel on a non-stick sheet. If you wish to cover the entire pretzel, you can either dip it all the way (prepare to get chocolate on your fingertips) or use a larger bowl of chocolate and mix in several pretzels at a time. Remove them with the tip of a knife and place on a sheet.

Pretzel logs require a tall or deep glass. You want to be able to dip at least 4-5” of the rod in the chocolate. Shake off excess chocolate before placing it on the covered sheet. Be aware that you will now have a “flat” side of the pretzel rod. If this is bothersome, you can wait until it dries slightly, or create a holder for the rod to dry upright. Another alternative is to use a pastry brush to “paint” the chocolate on your rod.

How do I Attach Sprinkles to My Pretzels?

The trick to adding ingredients such as cookie crunches, chopped pecans, sprinkles, nonpareils and crushed candy canes to your dipped pretzel, is to work quickly. As soon as you have removed excess chocolate from your pretzel, sprinkle on desired toppings. It is easy to contaminate or waste your toppings so make a plan before proceeding. I recommend using your fingers to sprinkle, rather than a shake jar which tends to miss the mark. I also caution not to let chocolate drip into your supply of toppings. If it does, let it harden before removing.

Can I Color or Flavor my Chocolate?

If you choose to use candy melts for your dip, you will find they come in an assortment of colors and flavors. For instance, during the winter holidays, you can find gingerbread or candy cane flavors available. In the summer, you are likely to score Key lime or red raspberry. If you are using “real” chocolate, you can use a powdered food color to alter the color and/or an oil-based flavoring. If at all possible, try to refrain from using a water based ingredient as you run the risk of your chocolate seizing. Certainly you can use a natural flavor such as chili or ginger powder, powdered peanut butter, or mint leaves. When I am feeling adventurous, I have used a scant spoonful of unsweetened Kool-Aid mix to both color and flavor my chocolate. More times than not, you can get the additional flavoring you are seeking from your embellishment. For instance, if you are looking to add a mint flavor, you might use crushed mint cookies as a topping.

What Else Can I Use to Make My Pretzels Stand Out?

There are pretzel rod chocolate molds available in several themes that you might find useful. For instance, a mold may have a few hearts on one end, or some snowflakes. They are sold online as well as in your local big box craft store. Also in the cake decorating section of your favorite craft store, you can find something called “shimmer” dust. You can lightly alter the color and shine of your chocolate by using a cheap paint brush to “dust” your chocolate with the shimmer. Without too much effort, you can use a contrasting color/flavor of chocolate to decorate your dipped pretzels. This is most commonly done by dipping a fork in the contrasting chocolate and drizzling it back and forth on your hardened pretzel.

How Should I Present My Dipped Pretzels?

The smaller traditional pretzels are often placed in a decorative tin or bag-especially if you are giving it as a gift. Rods are usually bagged and tied with a ribbon. Customized pretzel rod bags are available at your local craft store. Beyond that, there are all sorts of ways to get creative with chocolate covered pretzels. One of my favorite ways is to make a wreath of pretzels. Another idea is to put rods in a glass container held upright by M & M’s or the like.

Whether you are popping them straight into your mouth or using them as a favor at a wedding, you’ll be able to create and customize chocolate covered pretzels effortlessly, economically, and deliciously.


Lori Gilmore

Lori Gilmore

Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.

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