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12 oz. good-quality milk, dark, OR white chocolate, very finely chopped
2 T. solid vegetable shortening or cocoa butter
6 to 8 oz. small, salted pretzels
For Garnish: Small amount grated or shaved chocolate (in contrasting color from the color of the chocolate in which you dip the pretzels) OR chocolate sprinkles.
Line several baking sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side up.
In a medium heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate and shortening. Set over hot water on low heat. Stir or whisk frequently until melted and smooth. (Milk and white chocolates, even those of good quality, are often stubborn about melting. If yours won't melt smoothly, turn it into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade (be careful not to get any water into the chocolate!). Process just until smooth.) Carefully turn melted chocolate into a small bowl. If necessary, cool, stirring often, until just slightly warm.
Place one pretzel on top of the melted chocolate. With a three- or four-tined fork, gently push the pretzel just under the surface of the chocolate to cover it completely. Pick up the pretzel so that it lies flat on the fork tines. Using short up-and-down motions, gently "shake" off excess chocolate from the pretzel. Carefully place the dipped pretzel on a foil-lined baking sheet.
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