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Crunchy pretzels glazed in a malty Scotch-ale-caramel and drizzled with semisweet chocolate are the beer-lover's ultimate salty-sweet snack.
Three Baking Sheets to the Wind
Affectionately called "Three Sheets Pretzels" both because the pretzels get sloshed in beer syrup and because the recipe requires three baking sheets, Beer-Caramel Pretzels can be made with or without the chocolate drizzle, depending on preference.
Don't have three baking sheets or not looking to serve a crowd? The recipe can be scaled back...if, that is, you can think of another use for the remaining beer....
- 1 (12 oz) Scotch ale (I used Sam Adams Wee Heavy), or another very malty beer
- 1/2 stick (4 T) butter
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 (12oz) bag mini salted pretzels (I used Snyder's of Hanover)
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Place the beer, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring just to help dissolve the sugar, and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 6 minutes without stirring.
- Meanwhile, arrange the pretzels in a single, even layer on each of three large, rimmed baking sheets.
- Pour the beer syrup over the pretzels, dividing it evenly among the three sheets. Let the pretzels sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, soaking up the syrup.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line your counter with parchment paper.
- Bake the pretzels at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 minutes, removing the sheets from the oven and using a spatula to flip/rotate the pretzels and redistribute the syrup every 6 minutes. Transfer the glazed pretzels to the parchment paper, spreading the out in an even layer, to cool.
- Once the pretzels have cooled, place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Give the chips a good stir with a fork and microwave the chocolate for another 30 seconds, stirring thoroughly afterwards. If necessary, continue microwaving for 10-second intervals until the chocolate can be stirred completely smooth. Cloak the tines of the fork generously in chocolate and shake the fork vigorously back and forth over the pretzels, repeating until all the pretzels have been drizzled with chocolate.
- Allow chocolate to harden before serving or transferring to an airtight container to store. Pretzels will keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Serve in bowls at a beer-tasting party or as part of a beer-themed dinner party.
- Package and give as a gift or part of a goodie basket for a beer lover.
- Keep a personal stash for late-night salty-sweet cravings.
Choosing a Brew...
The Scotch-ale-style beer used in this recipe was brewed with peat-smoked malt to give it the smoky essence of Scotch whisky (interesting note: Scotch whisky; Irish whiskey). The beer is malt-forward and slightly syrupy, lending itself well to sweet applications.
When selecting a beer for this recipe, look for a malty brew with some inherent sweetness; smokiness is a pleasant background note but not necessary.
Beers with these characteristics tend to also be quite roast-forward. While you want (and probably can't avoid) some deep, roasted notes, do avoid beers with an overt bitterness, as this quality will only intensify as the beer is cooked and concentrated.