Posts Tagged ‘pretzels’

Within minutes of cracking my eyes open and my feet hitting the chilly carpet, the morning sunshine was overshadowed by gloomy sadness—it’s the same tinge of grief that creeps in every September 18, the anniversary of my best friend’s unspeakable death.

Since 22 years of heartbreak can’t be mended with a bottle of Patrón and Duct tape, the next best thing for me is baking. So after I got off the phone with Darya’s dad, Darryl, I wiped my tears with a lotion-y Kleenex and cranked the oven to 350°.

6 and a half layer bars

I recalled a story her mom, Carmen, told me recently. One time, Carmen put a pan of 7-layer bars in the oven and had to leave the house so she asked Darya to turn the oven off when the timer was done. Well, Darya did just that. She turned the oven off but she didn’t take the bars out of the oven. The bars continued to bake and caramelize and as Carmen puts it, “…best bars we ever had and we can’t seem to duplicate that.”

In sweet memory of my friend, I tried to recreate what she had done so many years ago. I changed up the recipe a little because I thought adding caramel, milk chocolate toffee bits, and salty pretzel crumbs could only make the bars better. I was right.

Just remember to turn the oven off and let them sit in there for a while.

6 and a half layer bars

What makes these eight-and-a-half layer bars? I swapped (pretzels for nuts) and added a few ingredients (caramel and toffee bits) from traditional 7-layer bars and, because I’m not a raging fan of coconut, I only use half the coconut most recipes call for. A sprinkling really.

Eight-and-a-half layer bars

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup pretzel crumbs

11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) butter, melted

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate toffee bits

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping (such as Mrs. Richardson’s butterscotch caramel)

1/2 cup (or your desired amount) shredded coconut

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Stir together cracker and pretzel crumbs with melted butter. (I use a blender to make the crumbs and then add the butter.)
  3. Dump and firmly press the crumb mix into pan.
  4. Evenly scatter butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and toffee bits onto crust.
  5. Drizzle on about 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping.
  6. Sprinkle with coconut, reserving a tablespoon or two.
  7. Pour condensed milk over coconut. Sprinkle with last bit of coconut.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn off oven. Leave bars in oven for about 15 minutes before transferring pan to a cooling rack.
  9. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in airtight container.

With sweet memories of my BFF,



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We’ve all seen them, probably even eaten a few — pretzels with melted candies gently pressed into their salty crevices. With all the different flavors people have created, I still go back to my favorite that my mom started making a few years ago. She uses Mint M&M’s candies. They’re the white, green, and red milk chocolate candies that have only been available around the Christmas holiday. So stock up, because they will be hard to find soon.

A few fun recipes I’ve seen for different pretzel snacks are Rolo Pretzel Turtles from Steamy Kitchen, Rolo Pretzels with Pretzel M&M’s from Two Peas and Their Pod, Candy Cane Pretzel Kisses from Cookies and Cups, Peanut Butter M&M Pretzel Kisses from Simply Scratch, and Dark Chocolate Mint Pretzel Kisses from Cookin’ Cowgirl.

Mint M&M’s Pretzel Kisses

Bag of mini pretzel twists or squares

Bag of HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Kisses

Bag of Mint M&M’s Chocolate Candies (They are usually in the Christmas candy isle.)

Preheat the oven to 200°. Place pretzels on a cookie sheet. (The number of HERSHEY’s Kisses you have determines how many pretzels you need.)

Unwrap the Kisses and place one in the center of each pretzel. Bake in the oven for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. The Kiss will not look melted. Remove the pan from the oven. Immediately and gently push one mint M&M into each melted kiss. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. If there’s any left after sitting out all day.

If you haven’t made these before, here’s a tip. If you don’t bake these long enough, the kiss will be melted only on the top half. When you try to push the M&M into it, it won’t really stick well. On the other hand, if you bake these too long, the chocolate and turn hard again and when that happens, there’s no going back. You can’t reheat them to fix it. My suggestion, bake at 2-1/2 minutes and then remove the pan and try an M&M. If it works right away, great, you are done. If it seems to only push down halfway, stick in the oven for another 30 seconds. Check again. It only takes a few seconds too long to over-bake.

What kind of pretzel snacks do you make?

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