As you start planning your holiday gift giving this year I hope you’ll consider less plastic and stuff and more thoughtful homemade ideas, like my edible gifts! Starting this week and for the next 3 weeks I’ll be featuring tasty, delectable homemade treats you can give as gifts to the ones you love this year.
This week I’m showing you how to make these cool and kind of fancy vegan golden chocolate caramel pretzel rods! It’s got a gooey caramel coating, then chocolate, and a sponge toffee crunch on the outside with a little sparkle. Check out how to make them in the video below and then scroll down for the recipe!
MAKES anywhere from 47 to 60 pretzel rods
PREP TIME: 60 mins + chill time (various lengths of time below)
COOK TIME 45 minutes
47 to 60 pretezel rods (4-inches in length)
MAKES about 1 1/3 cup
PREP TIME: 30 minutes + 2 hours chill time
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
12 (250 g) medjool dates, pitted
1/2 C warm water
2/3 C canned coconut cream
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C vegan butter
1 C granulated cane sugar
golden sponge toffee
MAKES about 2 cups of crumbs
PREP TIME: 10 minutes + 1 hour chill time
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
1/2 tsp Wilton edible gold pearl dust
1/2 C water
1 C white sugar
1/4 C white or golden corn syrup
2 tsp baking soda
16 oz. dark chocolate wafers (about 3 cups)
In a high-powered blender dd pitted dates, water, coconut cream, tapioca starch, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Blend until very smooth.
In a saucepan, melt vegan butter and add the cane sugar on low to medium heat. Stir to combine. When the butter is mostly melted you can turn the heat up slightly and add in the date mixture and stir until combined. Let it come to a low bubble and whisk constantly to prevent burning. A smooth caramel forms and thickens slightly in about 4 to 5 minutes. Then remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.
Meanwhile prepare two baking sheets lined with wax paper and prepare the sponge toffee while the caramel cools down.
For the sponge toffee, make sure all of your ingredients are pre-measured as the process happens really quick! Line a square pan with parchment paper and attach a candy thermometer to a medium sized sauce pan.
In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the gold pearl dust and water.
In your sauce pan over medium-high heat, add sugar evenly so it covers the bottom of the pot. Pour the corn syrup and water over top so that all of the sugar is covered. Do not stir this. The sugar will dissolve and start to simmer. Once the sugar mixture reaches 300°F which is hard candy-crack stage (this took about 18 minutes on my stove top) take the pot off heat and whisk in the baking soda until combined. Don’t continue whisking as you want air to remain the mixture. The mixture will begin to foam right away and double in size. As soon as it mostly stops expanding, pour the mixture out into the square pan, working quickly as it’ll start to harden immediately. Let the mixture cool and harden at room temperature for about 1 hour.
By now your caramel will be cooled enough and slightly thicker. Pour the caramel into a heat-safe cup or mug that is about 4-inches tall and ensure the mouth of the cup is about 2 1/2-inches wide.
Dip a pretzel rod 3/4 of the way into the caramel. Let the excess drip off well before placing on the sheets lined with wax paper. Repeat with the remaining pretzel rods. The caramel shouldn’t pool too much but if some are a little bit misshapen from pooling around the pretzel, use a knife or small spatula to smooth out the caramel edges before chilling in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set the caramel.
Once the sponge toffee is completely cooled break the large piece in half. Place one half in a large resealable plastic bag, removing the air. Use a rolling pin to bash the toffee to create small crumbs. It’s very therapeutic! Pour into a wide shallow dish and set aside until you’re coating the caramel pretzel rods. You can use remaining toffee for the hazelnut truffle recipe (coming to the blog December 19!) OR break up the remaining piece into large chunks and you can dip half of them in melted chocolate and give that as a different edible gift too! They’re very decadent.
To make the chocolate coating, melt 8 oz of dark chocolate wafers at a time over a double boiler until smooth and entirely melted. Clean out the same mug or cup you used for the date caramel, and pour in the melted chocolate.
Take the caramel dipped pretzel rods and smooth out any shifted caramel on the pretzel using a knife or small spatula. Dip it into the chocolate covering the caramel layer and let a lot of the excess drip off. Have toffee sponge crumbs in a large wide plate or platter and generously coat the rod with the crumb while rotating it constantly so you don’t drip a lot of chocolate into the crumbs. Place the rod on a clean sheet lined with wax paper that is in the fridge. You’ll want to place the fully coated rods immediately in the fridge so they don’t pool at all. Keep chilled in the fridge.
Divide the rods in individual plastic cellophane bags or in mason jars and keep refrigerated unless putting out to serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge.
These should be made 1 day in advance of gifting and eaten within 1 to 2 days max. for total freshness.