Monday, December 20, 2010

Bacon Pretzels

UPDATE: We finally decided to name our new dog Walnut but Bacon came in at a very close second! So, without a Bacon to play fetch with, I needed to do some kitchen work with bacon to get my fix.

We had a holiday party Saturday night and I figured I'd dress up some plain pretzels with a little chocolate and bacon. Because, why not? I dipped salted traditional pretzels in melted chocolate, which I brought to a liquid consistency in a double boiler, and then sprinkled on some bacon bits.

I think the phrase "double boiler" makes some people nervous, but it's really very easy. You don't need any fancy equipment, just a pyrex glass bowl (which is the most common type of glass that can withstand really high temperatures) in a size that fits over the top of a pot. Fill the pot with at least two inches of water and place chocolate chips (or any bar chocolate) in the bowl.

Here are my tips for using the double boiler method to melt chocolate (which is far superior to using a microwave):
  • Always keep your burner to medium or low heat, never high
  • Check the water in the pot every few minutes to make sure you have enough to keep your steam going
  • Use a spatula to constantly move the chocolate around in the pyrex bowl; if you leave it for more than a 15-20 seconds without stirring, the chocolate can burn
  • Wear an oven mit on one hand while the other hand does the stirring; the bowl will be slippery underneath from the steam and can move around easily, so it's important to be able to hold it in place
  • Prepare your foods to dip and your drying surface before you even get started with melting the chocolate; once you get started there's no going back
  • This process has a fancy named called "tempering" which basically just means melting
Once all of your chocolate chunks have dissolved into creamy goodness, start dipping!
To make my life easier, I only dipped one side of the pretzels, then placed them individually on sheets of parchment paper laid out on the counter. Every few pretzels I would stop to sprinkle some delicious bacon bits (store bought, I know, I'm a cheater!) over the top so they could adhere to the chocolate before it dried.

I left the pretzels about 20 minutes to make sure they were thoroughly dried before removing them from the parchment and placing them in an airtight container in advance of my party.

You can definitely "bacon-ize" any sweet or salty snack with some chocolate and bacon. I'm sure your friends will appreciate the porky punch you are providing.

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