Let’s get some of the warnings and negatives out of the way. One large pretzel rod has about 40 calories from the flour, but pretzels are basically nutritionally empty and may be a choking hazard for very young children. Although very salty, pretzel treats are fun and easy to make. Bottom line: pretzel treats really taste good, reduce some of the sugar of cookies, and add the crunch children like.
Soft pretzels originated in Europe with the monks in the early Middle Ages and remain an emblem for bakers. They were brought to Pennsylvania Dutch country by the Germans. The area still produces 80 percent of pretzels in the United States. Hard pretzels have no real nutritional value but stay edible a long time and were introduced in 1850.
Pretzels Very Versatile
Pretzels are good dipped in Greek yogurt, chocolate, mustard, melted cheese. They can be slathered with sun flower seed butter, a good substitute for peanut butter, Nutella, Parmesan cheese, jelly, white or dark chocolate. When crushed they are a good topping for ice cream or yogurt.
To make dipped hard pretzel logs with children, you’ll need one 12 ounce package of chocolate chips, dark chocolate or white chocolate; one teaspoon vegetable oil and 24 rods or package twists. Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Mix the chocolate chips and oil in a bowl and place in a microwave for 30 seconds. Children can carefully stir with a wooden spoon under supervision. If chips are not melted, return to the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Dip or spread chocolate with a spatula or table knife. Place on the cookie sheet to harden.
You can place contrasting melted chocolate frosting in decorator bag and children can drizzle more chocolate over the pretzels. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes and place in a covered container or eat on the spot while reading a few books.
Quick Pretzel Cookies
Another salty sweet snack and not nutritious is pretzel cookies. You’ll need one bag of some kind of flat pretzel like the knot or lattice square and one bag of Hershey kisses or Rollo candy. Spread pretzels on a cookie sheet and place a Hershey kiss or Rollo chocolate butterscotch candy on each pretzel. Place in the oven at 275 degrees for three minutes. Remove immediately. The candy should be melted. Come people place an M&M or pecan in the middle. With a Rollo and pecan the cookies taste like a chocolate turtle candy. Refrigerate until hardened and store in a covered container.
Thin pretzel sticks can be used as skewers or substitute forks. You can place cubes of cheese, meat, tofu, cut grapes, apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, mango, or raspberries to spear and add nutrition.
Esther Macalady is a retired schoolteacher in Golden. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning through the Seasons, live and podcasts.
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