Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mocha, Caramel & Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Mocha, Caramel & Chocolate Pretzel Bites
by Aimee Self
adapted from the book My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats (recipe for caramel)

2 (14-ounce) cans of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup brewed Lock-n-Load Java Charlie Don’t Surf coffee
6 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
parchment paper
greased or parchment lined 9x5” loaf pan

Mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the cocoa powder together in a large pot and melt over medium heat. You’re going to have to stir this for a while. It took me nearly an hour to get it to what I thought was the right consistency when I pulled it off the heat. It was not. The consistency needs to be thicker than melted marshmallows. Pour half in your prepared dish and mix the cocoa powder into the remaining caramel. Pour that on top and allow to set. Place in the refrigerator for several hours.

When I discovered the next day that it hadn't quite set enough to be the solid consistency of caramel, I was terribly disappointed but also really annoyed I stirred that stuff for an hour on a Friday night! Anyway, I didn't want to waste what I’d made and it did taste incredible. So I decided to buy some pretzels and do something else with what I had.

1 32-ounce bag little mini pretzel braids
1 8-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons brewed Lock N Load Java Charlie Don’t Surf coffee

Since my mocha caramels weren't quite set, I could not cut them into perfect squares but I just did my best. I took about nickel-sized pieces and placed them on one pretzel, sandwiched with another pretzel on top and set aside until I was done. I made about 2-3 dozen but there was plenty more caramel to make more pretzel bites. After I was done preparing them, I melted the chocolate in a double boiler over hot water on the stove. I added about 2 tablespoons of the coffee BEFORE I melted the chocolate. I did not want the chocolate to seize up by adding liquid after it was melted. I then dipped each pretzel bite into the chocolate and allowed them all to cool. They turned out to be great little candies and I still have my coffee caramel mixture left. I've actually been using it as a spread for toast (a la Nutella) and it is AMAZING.

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