After enjoying an incredible caramel-and-chocolate-dipped salty hard pretzel at a friend's wedding last weekend, we talked about trying to replicate the insane delicious-ness at home.
This would of course involve making my own caramel, something that was a complete mystery to me. I found a well-reviewed recipe online and got to work.
I did not make any modifications to this recipe for my first try, although my thermometer never actually got to a reading 250F...I think that I got to only about 235F. You can see how much the mixture changed color and consistency during the hour or so that it was cooking.
There were lots of good suggestions in the reviews of this recipe. Because of the variability of thermometers, someone recommended the old practice of drizzling a spoonful into a glass of cold water to check the consistency-- there is a wide range of potential results...think caramel sauce vs. hard Werther's candies.
Once the mixture was perfect, I drizzled some caramel across rows of small (see above) and large rod pretzels. When the caramel had cooled, I added a little of the most amazing chocolate (E. Guittard semi-sweet wafers) courtesy of Craig. Thank you!
Once I used what I wanted for the hard pretzels, I poured the rest of the caramel into a glass Pyrex pan lined in parchment paper. When the slab was cool, we cut it up and wrapped each piece in a little square of parchment paper.
Each piece is a salty-sweet browned-butter nugget of heaven!
Y U M!