Potluck Pinch

Potlucks. I love them. The student service/social organization I’m a member of has potluck meetings at least once a month. Everyone comes together, shares their delicious homemade treats and enjoys time with one another. I’ve realized that everyone likes each other a little more when there is free, tasty food around. Bellies are full and people are happy.

I’ve also noticed that everyone loves the person that brings the best dish. It is such a great feeling when that person is you.

As a college student living on the cheap, I will gladly do my part and contribute to a free food fest. But really, who has time to spend all day in the kitchen? I certainly don’t.

I usually find myself in a pinch the day of potlucks. I ask myself the same questions every time: What am I going to make? (Well, something sweet, of course.) What can I make that’s inexpensive? What can I make that only requires a few ingredients? What can I make that will make it seem like I put a lot of time and effort into it?

My search usually takes me to Pinterest, a social media platform where I have lost too much time scrolling through thousands of posts dedicated to recipes, fashion and crafts, among other things.

It was here where I found it: Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark—or as I like to call it, pretzel thing.

Pretzel thing isn’t your typical dessert like cookies, cupcakes and brownies. Pretzel thing is in a whole other league of its own. It’s incredibly addicting and instantly satisfies a sugar craving. Pretzel thing is sweet but salty, crunchy but soft, and all around delicious.

It’s perfect. Other potluck dishes don’t stand a chance.

Pretzel thing is incredibly easy to make and only has five ingredients. Although it takes a couple of hours to set in the freezer, preparation is simple and quick. I had most of the ingredients already and was relieved when I realized that what I didn’t have was inexpensive.

Pretzel Thing (Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark)

½ bag of mini pretzels

2 sticks of butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 bag of chocolate chips (2 cups)

Sea salt or table salt

The ingredients for pretzel thing (Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark). This recipe uses common and inexpensive items to make something extraordinary! (Photo: Gabriella Byers)

Directions:

First, preheat the oven to 350°.

Then, line a baking sheet with foil.

Arrange the mini pretzels in rows.

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Arrange the mini-pretzels in rows on the baking sheet. This will allow you to fit more pretzels on the sheet than if they were randomly scattered. (Photo: Gabriella Byers)

Next, in a saucepan, melt the brown sugar and butter together until the sugar is smooth and thick.

Let the mix of butter and sugar slightly boil before removing from heat.

Now, pour the mix over the pretzels.

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Pour the caramel over the pretzels. Try and spread the mix as evenly as possible. (Photo: Gabriella Byers)

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Pretzel thing prepared and ready to go back into the oven for another 5 minutes. (Photo: Gabriella Byers)

Place the sheet in the in the oven for 5 minutes. This will help the caramel spread evenly across the sheet, coating each pretzel.

Next, remove the sheet from the oven. Cover the top in chocolate chips (I prefer to use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can use whichever kind of chocolate chip is your favorite!)

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Pour the chocolate chips over the pretzels and caramel. (Photo: Gabriella Byers)

Next, place the sheet back into the oven for 1 minute.

Then, remove the sheet from the oven.

Spread the melted chocolate chips evenly across the top of the pretzels.

Now, sprinkle salt over the chocolate. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the salt!

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Sprinkle salt over the chocolate. This adds a great contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel. (Photo: Gabriella Byers)

Now is my least favorite part, the wait.

Place the sheet in the freezer and let it set for at least 2 hours.

As much as you may want to taste it, it’ll be too sticky. I’ve tried too many times to get around waiting but it just won’t work. If you don’t wait, it will fall apart and end up a huge mess. Nobody wants that! Take these few hours to be productive. I’ll usually use this time to finish homework, start laundry and may even bake something else.

Trust me, the wait is worth it.

Once it has had a few hours to sit, break it up into small pieces. I usually break it down to two-bite size pieces.

Serve just after removing from the freezer to keep it from melting too much.

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Break pretzel thing down into small pieces. Serve immediately after chilling. (Photo credit: Gabriella Byers)

Let’s take a closer look:

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A closer look at pretzel thing. Enjoy! (Photo credit: Gabriella Byers)

There you have it, pretzel thing in all its glory. This perfectly sweet and salty goody is a definite crowd pleaser. The salt helps balance out the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel. The pretzels add a satisfying crunch and snack quality, instead of just a fudgy-bark. Since this treat is frozen, it makes a perfect snack for warm summer nights.

Pretzel thing has never failed me at a potluck. I’ll admit it, my friends and I are addicted to it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you– watch out!

Enjoy!

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One thought on “Potluck Pinch

  1. Pingback: The Art of Potlucks; why potlucks are more than food! | robertopadron

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