Friday, December 18, 2009

Praline Pretzels

I just discovered this recipe last week, the night I made cardamon tea shortbread and was wide awake after eating too much caffeinated dough. I was tempted to make these pretzels on the spot, midnight baking being a great alternative to midnight web surfing, but I willed myself to sleep and made them another day. Good thing -- it took much longer for the sugar to carmelize than I expected (cursed Taiwan course sugar). This recipe has a long lineage: I found it on Bethany Actually, who traced it to Ideas in Food via Brownie Points. I will let you follow your own rabbit trails, but do check out Bethany Actually's post -- she has some adorable photos of her daughter in the rain that made me smile (and miss the rain!).

Praline Pretzels

Butter a large cookie sheet and set aside (seriously, do this first -- you won't have time later).

In a large heavy pan or stockpot, over medium heat, melt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Add to melted butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir constantly with a wooden spoon and watch closely -- you want this to caramelize to a nice golden color, but you're always courting disaster with caramel (this could be a whole other blog entry, my struggles with melting sugar). The original recipe said to stir for a couple minutes; mine took about ten. The sugar here really doesn't melt fast.

Once the caramel is melted and smooth, quickly stir in
6 cups broken pretzel pieces

Working very fast (because the candy will set), stir so that the pretzel pieces are all covered. Immediately pour out onto the greased cookie sheet, spreading the praline pretzels out in an even layer. Once they have cooled, break them up into smaller chunks. (I used whole small pretzels but found that I had to take a knife to them once they'd cooled because the chunks were too massive to bite into. Mini-pretzel halves would be better.)

Buying info:

Costco has huge bags of mini pretzels for about NT$250. I divide them up into gallon-sized zip-locked bags so they stay fresher. If you have the freezer space, you can keep them even longer that way. Everything else is easily found here.

No comments: