This year, for holiday gifts for Peanut and Sprout’s teachers and therapists, we went edible: as a family, we made yummy yummy pretzel rods. These are super-easy to make, and both of my kids (at time of crafting, one almost-five-year old legally blind kiddo and one 28-month old mostly typical kiddo) had a great time helping out. I think this is one you can adapt for kids with any level of vision. It may get messy, but that’s half the fun, right?
What you’ll need:
1) Pretzel rods. We got ours at Target
2) White Almond Bark. I used Best Choice brand, which we picked up at Price Chopper. I tried using Nestle white chocolate chips for our first batch and did not have a good time. I’ll be sticking to almond bark whenever we do this in the future.
3) Food coloring. I used 5 drops of green to get green almond bark and 5 drops red for the pinkish color.
4) Wax paper or parchment paper.
5) Sprinkles and colored sugar. I found very cute holiday sprinkles at Target in their $1 aisle–the green pretzels at the upper left have little red holly-berry and green holly-leaf shaped sprinkles on them.
6) A spoon. Use a big one (serving-spoon sized)
7) A microwave-safe container.
8) A microwave. (You can, admittedly, do this using a regular stove, but it takes longer and little people get impatient.)
9) Cute gift bags to wrap up your pretzels to give to teachers, friends, etc. Mine were about $2.80 for 8 at World Market and just fit our pretzel rods. I’m told Party City and other places with specialty baking aisles have other options.
What you’ll do:
We did ours over a three-day period to get three different colors for our gift bags. You can do it all in one day if you have stamina and space–it’s up to you.
1) First, set up your work space. Spread out a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper on a table in front of your kiddo. (You can put the paper on a cookie sheet if you want to do tons of these for easy movement.) Let your munchkin help you decide what color bark you’ll be making and what sprinkles to use. Get the sprinkles open and in arm’s reach. Let your kiddo practice sprinkling the paper if you like–it can help them figure out how to drizzle it with their fingers, as it were, and it will help you get sprinkles on the bottoms of your pretzels.
2) Melt your chocolate. I used 1/2 of a Best Choice almond bark package per color (6 blocks) in a glass bowl in our microwave. Follow the instructions for your brand. Do not be impatient and overheat it–if you overdo it, you’ll have to toss the almond bark and start over. Basically, you won’t get that nice, smooth liquid you need to cover your pretzels–and there will be no way to get it back to that point. In my case, it was nuke it for a minute, stir, then 10-15 second intervals.
3) Once your almond bark is ready, as the grown-up, you get to dip the rods. I found that using the spoon to drizzle chocolate along the length and spinning the rods makes this easier.
4) Once you’re satisfied you’ve got enough coating on it, set your pretzel rod on your paper. Tell your kiddo to sprinkle away!
5) Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you’re out of almond bark.
6) Let the pretzel rods set. If you’re impatient, put them in the refrigerator.
7) Once the rods have set (you can tell by touching the bark with your finger–if it’s hard, they’re set), peel them off of the paper and put them in the container of your choice.
8) Pick up the paper and make it into a funnel (gently!). You can then pour the extra sugar/sprinkles that didn’t get stuck to the pretzels back into a container to use another time.