Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chocolate and pretzels and peanuts, oh my!

This recipe has a name that some readers may find offensive.

Chocolate and pretzels are a match made in heaven, something you know if you’ve ever eaten a chocolate-dipped pretzel.
   But what if a few more things are added to the chocolate and pretzels, like butterscotch chips and peanuts?
   Then you’ve got pure awesomeness, otherwise known as Rebecca's Psycho PMS Chocolate Balls (click for the recipe).
   The chocolate balls come to us from Nadia Giosia, or Nadia G, host of Bitchin’ Kitchen on Food Network Canada and the Cooking Channel.
   In her latest cookbook, Cooking for Trouble, Nadia G writes she first ate this quick-to-make confection at her friend Rebecca’s house, and she knew the two would be friends for a long time.
   The first time I saw the name of the recipe, I laughed very, very hard.
   But when I served the treat to others, I stuck with the name "chocolate-pretzel balls," and you might want to do that too, especially if you’re giving them to children.
   They were insanely easy to make, with just five ingredients, and were a big hit with everyone who ate them.
   The recipe says to create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with water, bringing it to medium-high heat and placing a glass bowl inside that fits well and stays above the water. I used exactly the opposite set-up: A glass saucepan with a metal bowl inside.
   Finely-chopped semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips instead) and butterscotch chips are put in the bowl and stirred until melted. The mixture is removed from heat and peanuts and crushed pretzels are stirred in (I used a mini-chopper to crush the pretzels, but not to a fine-pretzel dust, just to smaller pieces).
   Heaping tablespoons of the chocolate mixture are put on parchment-lined baking sheets and chilled.
   The recipe says to chill the blobs of chocolate for five minutes initially before shaping them into balls. I recommend a little longer, about seven minutes.
   The baking sheets are removed from the fridge, and the blobs compressed into balls. I found I couldn’t get them exactly round, as there were peanuts and pretzels in them, so I did the best I could into forming them into a more compact shape.
   Chill the balls until you’re ready to serve them.

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