Holiday Traditions: Tasty Treats (+ cooking with kids)

Never start a diet in December.

Sage advice, trust me.  Between the parties, get-togethers, cookie swaps, gifts, and office munching, treats abound this time of year.

You can either accept it, enjoy a taste here and there, or just jump in with both feet and have a little bit of everything.

Most Christmas treats I avoid since I’m not a heavy snacker and I don’t usually dive in for dessert.  I will say that I am a sucker for little bite-sized homemade treats, though.  Especially those containing chocolate, peanut butter, or a combination of the two.  Yum.

I took advantage of the snow piling up this weekend to do a little treat-making in my own kitchen.  I had treats to make for work and naturally I needed to make a few extra for our own consumption.  Now I have two young children underfoot and this makes even the simplest kitchen task interesting, to say the least.  I’m going to give you the recipe for this tasty treat, but the directions will include just how it played out in my kitchen with my two little “helpers”:

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Ingredients

1 cup of creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp. butter – softened

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

1-2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1-2 bags of pretzels (I used 1.5)

Directions

Noon: So that I don’t forget ingredients, I usually get everything out before I start cooking, just to be prepared.  I notice that the recipe calls for the butter to be softened, so I set it out on the counter and go fold clothes.

2:00 pm: I head back to the kitchen to start making these tasty treats and notice that the snow isn’t falling as bad as it had been before and now would probably be a good time to clear the driveway.  I line the counter-tops with wax paper so that I am closer to being ready once the snow has been moved.  I have to reassure my daughter that she is indeed going to help me and I will let her know when it is time.

5:00 pm: I’m finally back in the kitchen to make these tasty treats.  I realize what time it is.  Supper must be made first.

6:30 pm: The kids are fed and I am finally going to make these yummy treats.  Curly Q and I wash our hands and get started.   (Inform the helper/s that there will be no finger-licking or tasting until the treats are finished.) 

First you mix the peanut butter and butter together. Next add sugars.  If the mixture is too sticky, add a little more powdered sugar to the mix.  Roll the peanut butter mixture into a small ball and press between two pretzels.  I like to use the square pretzels because they stick together a little bit better.  

I notice about half-way through that my helper has tasted one of the peanut butter balls.  I give her the stink eye and make her wash her hands.  Again.  Little Man comes charging into the kitchen wanting to see what we were up to.  He decides against helping since he doesn’t want to get his fingers sticky.  He helped with these last year and remembers the mess.  I am silently relieved that he doesn’t want to help because these ARE for work, after all.

Once the peanut butter mixture has been used up, place the pretzels in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  I placed them on my back porch since it was 0° at the time.

7:00 pm: Take a break to get the kids bathed.  Assure your helper that she can help you with the chocolate part.

8:30 pm: Bedtime for the kids.  Gripes and groans from my helper because she is not going to be allowed to stay up to help with the chocolate part because it is a school night.  Begin reading books and tucking kids in.

9:00 pm: Finally go back to the kitchen to melt chocolate.  Place 1 bag of chocolate chips into a microwavable bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir chips to melt.  It took me about 2 minutes to melt all of the chips. 

9:02 pm: Little Man comes downstairs and wants to be tucked in.  Again.  And wants me to snuggle him “for a minute”.  Again.

9:15 pm: Head back down to the kitchen to begin dipping the pretzels in the chocolate.  Re-heat chocolate.  Grab the pretzels off of the porch and begin dipping them in the chocolate.  Place each dipped pretzel on the wax paper so that the chocolate can cool.  I did run out of chocolate, so I melted another bag.  Once the chocolate is cooled, place into an airtight container and refrigerate.  

These treats are pretty tasty, the perfect combination of salty and sweet.  I loved having my daughter help me with them, even though she didn’t get to help me with the chocolate.  At one point she looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I love helping you cook.  This is fun.”  And even though a simple treat took quite awhile to fix, it was worth it.  Every single moment.  And every single bite.

 

 

 

Jennifer Collins (GracefulMess)

About Jennifer Collins (GracefulMess)

Jennifer is a mom with a day job and she likes to write about her victories and messes along the way. She is living an adventurous life as a Georgia transplant learning to thrive in Maine, with a strong Southern accent that screams that she is "from away" and a new-found love for lobster rolls and timely snow plows. Jennifer's writing has been featured on BlogHer, iVillage Australia, Daddy Doin' Work, and Girl Body Pride.