Sunday, December 20, 2009

Teacher Gifts - Candy Pretzels

This week we are still deep into preparations for Christmas.  Sprout had her Winter Concert on Thursday night and she performed brilliantly in the chorus and orchestra (cello).  The layout of her school "cafetorium" is such that about 10 people in the front row can actually see anything, so my pictures of the actual performance are awful.  But she sure was cute!

Saturday brought the "Storm of the Century" to Southeastern PA and we spent the day alternating between shoveling the driveway and working on our teacher gifts.  As my shoveling technique leaves much to be desired (mostly I desire not to have to use it!) I will tell you about the gift project instead. 

Candy-covered pretzel sticks!

I found a cute little Christmas Tree candy mold at Michael's for $1.99 and figured that melting couldn't be all THAT hard. 

So I also got these little melty candy things. 

We dumped a bunch of these into a plastic bowl and melted them in the microwave, following the directions on the package.  About 2 minutes at 50% power seemed to do the trick for us.  The result was this stuff that looks very much like melted crayons.  Yum.

I always thought that the candy resulting from melting and forming these things would be completely gross - like white chocolate, which I hate.  But it is actually quite delish if you can get beyond the color factor.  Much less waxy than I would have expected.  And with something crunchy and/or salty...mmmm....

I put the kids to work putting little dots of the different colors into the molds to make "ornaments" on the trees.  They used toothpicks to drop the red and green into the molds and did a very nice job.

They are a good work crew.  And very cute.  Especially in their jammies.

The melting and dotting of the red and green took a little while, especially since they were also (of course) watching something on TV.  But it seemed like on a jammie day in a blizzard, you should be allowed to take your time.

See how un-control freaky I was being?  Good, right?

Once the dots were done and had set for a little while we melted some white (with speckles in it...fancy!) and filled the mold about 1/3 of the way up.  They each did three and didn't even fight about it.  I love this project.

Then we took pretzel rods and rolled the ends in some of the melted candy. 

After the first batch I just started dipping them in the little bowl, which was actually a little easier.

Then the dipped pretzels went into the molds, so that they were about 3/4 of the way up the little trees, and then we covered them the rest of the way with melted candy.

We had to prop the ends up so the pretzels weren't flipping out of the mold while the candy hardened.  The Brookstone catalog worked nicely.

We waiting about an hour to make sure they were really and truly dry and hardened and then carefully (oh so very carefully) popped them out of the molds.

Not bad, right??

I figured out later that popping them into the fridge briefly made them a little easier to get out of the molds.  I am guessing that you could put some kind of non-stick into the molds to make them come out easier.  But then wouldn't the candy be greasy??

We also made green ones and red ones, with the other colors for the "ornaments".  

Then there was some extra melted candy stuff leftover so I hunted around for something to put it on.  I came up with graham crackers. I think potato chips would have been quite fab.  Wish I had had some.

I dressed them up with some sprinkles.  I also tasted a few to make sure they were good.  I am all about quality control.

I had purchased some cute little candy boxes, but once I realized that there were more teachers requiring gifting than I had originally planned, we moved on to plan B - some cellophane bags that I had left over from last year.

I put one of each color tree in the bag, and then two of the graham cracker squares (which filled in the bottom nicely, I thought).  I tied the tops with gold ribbon, but then I remembered that I had some jingle bells left from some other project from years ago.

And then when I was digging out the jingle bells (and dropping them all over the floor, scaring the dickens out of the dogs), I found some silver pipe cleaners, which were also left over from some other project.

So I put the bells on the pipe cleaners and made these funky little twisty things out of the pipe cleaners (wrapped them around a pencil).  I think the final embellishment is quite Martha.  Even though I am so totally NOT.

These are all packed up now for the kids to take to school tomorrow.  I am so hoping that there is no droppage or breakage.  But I know that taking them in myself is way too control-freakish.

Awareness is the first step.  Right?

This candy-molding thing was fun.  I would totally do it again - but it would need to be for some occasion where we give the results away.  Because really, yummmmm!

1 comment:

kellysjunkyard said...

Awesome job for your first time with candy and the gift bags. They are adorable and as you know, I'm a fan of handmade, personal touches.

Definitely don't use a non-stick spray or soap in the candy molds. I always put my candy either in the freezer or fridge and it's ready in minutes.