Friday, December 26, 2008

pretzel kisses



The lovely Nanette made us some of these as a holiday treat, and I was hooked! They are simple, festive, and delicious - you get crunch from the pretzels, smooth chocolate goodness, salt, and sweet all at once. When I started searching for the ingredients, I realized I'd made a modified version of them before with waffle-shaped pretzels, topped with a Hershey's Kiss, with an M&M stuck jauntily into just the tip of the Kiss, but I really wanted to follow Nanette's lead on the adorable look of these. She used melted chocolate which she piped into a round pretzel and topped with an M&M. I wanted to stick with the Kisses and try some of the different flavors, but the round pretzels were a must. Guess what? Nearly impossible to find. No worries; Nanette supplied me with two huge ziploc bags of round pretzels from the 8 pound box she had to buy online. Thanks, Nanette!

There's no recipe here. These are easy-peasy. I've made trays and trays of them this season, and Bug Bug even helped me with the prep on the two most recent trays! (Yay, more successful baking with the small person!)

Preheat the oven to 275F. Prep a rimmed cookie sheet (so they don't slide off) with parchment. Lay out pretzel rings everywhere. I will confess here that I am completely anal and did the math to figure out approximately how many Kisses were in each bag, and then laid out that many pretzels in rows of ten. Yeah, I'm nuts. Feel free to just throw a few huge handfuls on the tray and spread them out.

Next up, unwrap the Kisses. Do not skip this step! A big, important note: different kinds of chocolate have different melting points. I learned this the hard way when I had to throw out about 3 dozen milk chocolate Kisses that I could. not. get. to. melt. at. all. What the heck? Anyway, the important part is to only use ONE KIND of Kiss per cookie sheet. Place one Kiss on top/in the center of each pretzel. It's okay if they don't fit perfectly, but they should be fairly well centered and balanced. Pop the tray in the oven for 2-3 minutes so the Kisses start to turn shiny and melt a little. They will hold their shape but start to droop a little.

While the tray is in the oven, pour a bunch of M&Ms into a dish so you have easy access. Remove the tray from the oven, take one M&M and place it flat on top of the point of one Kiss, then push it down to see if they're melty enough. If they aren't warm enough, the Kiss won't push all the way down; put them back in the oven for another minute. If they are warm enough, the Kiss will smush down just enough for the chocolate to spread and fill the entire pretzel circle.

You have to work fairly quickly, but don't make yourself crazy. They will stay warm long enough for you to place the M&Ms on the whole tray. Put them aside until the chocolate is totally set. For me, this took way longer than I expected - several hours at least. They should peel right off the parchment without sticking when they are totally cooled and hardened.

I used Dark Chocolate Kisses, Hugs (which look SO cute when they melt, because the stripes come out perfectly!), and holiday M&Ms. I was a little afraid of the Kisses with other, weird-flavored centers, but truth be told, I am a Hershey Kiss purist and really only like the plain flavors. I think it's obvious why Kisses with almonds won't work here.

The only other thing I'll say about this "recipe" is that it probably took me longer to type all of this (and I'm a good typist) than it does to prep and make an entire tray of them. Oh, and also, some people apparently call them Reindeer Bellybuttons. Ha!


13 comments:

Nanette said...

Those turned out awesome!!! So perfect!

Hilary said...

I've never seen these (nor round pretzels) before, how cute! And yummy!

Dawn said...

I love these! I've never seen these before either. Awesome.

Sandra Dee said...

When I grow up, someday I will have a house of my own and a kitchen of my own and I will bake and bake and bake just like my bestest friend in the whole universe.

Until then, I will drool on my keyboard and read her blog in awe.

Yum.

The Nix Family said...

So cool! I will so try these ... and what's to stop us from doing them all year 'round with seasonally-appropriate M&Ms!!!
-Denise

Dawn said...

I just saw another site that used a Rolo for the middle and toasted pecan on top. I'd be afraid of the caramel going crazy though.

But I really want to make these with the Hugs for Valentines Day.

Suzanne said...

I made these last year for our bakesale and they were a HUGE hit. I only used the plain ones, but the stripes look so cute! I'll have to try those next time...

Betty said...

You weren't kidding about having trouble with getting the milk chocolate Kisses to melt! I had to throw a bunch out too. I made some this week with red, white and blue M&Ms. I kinda thought of the round pretzels as "O" for Obama. :) Oh, and just for future reference, the chocolate/caramel Kisses melt perfectly and are delicious.

Anonymous said...

For a twist on this same recipe, push into the kiss a cashew or almond instead of an m&m! Yum!

ann mccathren said...

hi i've made these in the past and for the first time (i have a new stove/oven) the kisses won't melt. what did you guys do? they turned hard instead of melting...

thanks so much. any help will be great.

ann

jami said...

@Ann, I think it's something about the melting temperature of the milk chocolate. Dark chocolate and Hugs melted flawlessly. I would just use a different type of Hershey kiss. I've done 'em with Rolos, too, and that seems to do just fine.

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