Monday, November 22, 2010

Gluten Free Christmas Gifts #6: Chocolate Covered Gluten Free Pretzels

Most of the time when I think of making a Christmas treat, I think about how I have to get out the recipe book, mix 100 ingredients, bake it up, all while figuring out how to tint the treat red or green. However, this year, along with practicing my frugal lifestyle (which I shall report on soon...good news: it works!) I'm also practicing the mantra of, "It doesn't always have to be exactly like that." As a traditional thinker, sometimes it's hard for me to let go of certain notions of what is right and wrong concerning, well, pretty much everything. Don't get me wrong, there's definitely a right and a wrong way to cook pretty much everything. But recently I've gotten a new perspective on such things like, crepes count for dinner fare, there's nothing wrong with ALL vegetables for a meal here and there, and a piece of toast with Nutella on it counts as breakfast. I've also learned that you can pretty much cover Christmas presents for an 11 year old and a 14 year old at the thrift store, a 99 cent calendar is the perfect present for my "little professor," and there's absolutely no reason you can't wear a skinny belt over a sweater around your natural waist... every day of the week. Phew. After that huge wind-up, my next idea for a gluten free Christmas gift is Chocolate Covered Gluten Free Pretzels.

The fun thing about these is that there is no recipe, and you can top them with whatever you feel like using that particular day. You can even use nothing and just give them plain and your peeps will love it. Here's how to do it:

Purchase some gluten free pretzels from Glutino. This small bag was $1.79 at my local grocery store. I also picked up some "bark coating" or melting chocolate, this Kroger brand was gluten free and it was only $2.50 on sale. I used half of the chocolate for one bag of small pretzels. Someone who's good at math would tell me how much that is for one cup of pretzels, but it's not going to be me. It's not much, is what I'm trying to say. I used white chocolate because I wanted them to look wintery, but you could use milk chocolate as well. And I've tried these with chocolate chips and the chocolate just really seizes up a lot more with the chips. A bark coating or the melting discs are really your best bet.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a large bowl for 1 minute, and stir, then for 30 more seconds and stir, then 30 more and stir. It should be about melted after that, but if not, add 30 more seconds. Drop the pretzels in and use a large spoon to spoon some chocolate over and cover it. Then use a fork to fish it out and drip a little of the chocolate off so you don't have a huge puddle around it. Scrape against the side of the bowl and put onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Take a break after a row of pretzels and add a topping while it's still wet if you want to. If you want to drizzle with chocolate, wait until they dry a little, then melt some more chocolate, place into a ziploc bag, snip off the corner, and drizzle away.

Then, when they're dry, simply package them up in cute little ways and people will think you are the most thoughtful gluten free friend ever. Really, this whole series has been about taking something delicious and just prettying it up with some lipstick and rouge to make it festive. There's lots of great places to look for wrapping ideas out there, like Martha, Better Homes and Gardens, and Country Living. But here's what I did:

I found these cute little cones at IKEA for some ridiculously cheap price and added some red tissue paper and put the little pretzels inside.

I also found these cute tree boxes at Michael's in the Martha section and they are a fast and easy way to package these little yummys up.

Happy giving!

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