There is a popular cookie tray occupant this time of year that involves melting a Rolo onto a pretzel in the microwave and topping it with an M&M.
I once attempted to make a batch of these, believing they were a fool-proof microwavable treat (how easy!). I also was drawn to them because they seemed like a festive way to satisfy my chocolate covered pretzel cravings.
Perhaps due to my shortcomings with the microwave (unlikely; I’m a self-proclaimed nuking fiend), or maybe a certain candy manufacturer changing their formula WITHOUT ASKING THE REST OF US (also unlikely; other people seem to have success with this), my Rolo pretzels were a disaster.
I tend to take it personally when life tasks that I deem easy go horribly, inexplicably wrong. Like when you’re just trying to melt a Rolo onto a pretzel in your microwave, and its refusal to soften begins to feel like mockery.
So, after much microwave-door-slamming and angry-Rolo-poking, I threw away a plate of hot pretzels topped with defiantly not-hot Rolos, and vowed to never attempt this snack again.
Years later, my attitude about this recipe has remained unchanged from: Microwaves are DUMB. Rolos are DUMB. I’m taking my ball and going home.
BUT. My love for chocolate covered pretzels and caramel and festive holiday treats has only intensified.
I like to think that my ability to competently use a microwave and to remain patient in the most frustrating of situations has improved over the years, but I’m not confident enough in either of these to brave these pretzel bites again.
So, in an attempt to not be bested by the simplest of recipes, and to eat copious amounts of chocolate and pretzels, I made a bark with all of the elements of a Rolo pretzel bite on it. And - please know that I realize how incredibly biased I am when I say this - this bark is so much easier to make!!
You just melt chocolate chips, spread them in a foil-lined pan, top with some crushed-up pretzels (crush by putting in a bag and whacking with a rolling pin a few time OR by dropping a gallon of milk on them while unloading groceries - both methods are effective) and M&M’s, and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.
I also like to sprinkle with additional salt, because I find most caramel labeled "salted caramel" is really just regular caramel sauce that wants to be the cool kid, but is really just a beloved classic and that's okay.
But anyway, I like my salted caramel SALTY. So I sprinkle some extra flakes on.
Cool until hardened and chop up into whimsically un-uniform pieces.
Then sample heavily. Put some on a cookie tray. Sample a few more. Create a secret stash for later. Serve to your friends/family. Repeat.
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark
- 24 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce, heated
- 1 cup broken pretzel sticks
- 1/2 cup M&M candies
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil.
Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Once melted, pour into the prepared pan and spread into an even later. Drizzle all but 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce over the chocolate. Top with the pretzels and M&M's. Using the back of a spoon, gently press toppings into the bark. Drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce, and sprinkle with salt. Chill in the refrigerator until set, at least an hour.
Once chocolate has hardened completely, remove bark from pan by pulling overhanging foil. Peel foil off, and cut into roughly 2-inch pieces.
Store bark in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
PS - Rolos, if you’re reading this: It’s not you, it’s me. And maybe also my microwave.