When I created this recipe, I called it Toffee Pretzels, but friends Maggie & John got a taste and promptly renamed them Crack Pretzels, because they are just that addictive.
It's one of my favorite holiday recipes, ok honestly, I make it whenever I have an excuse during the winter. And unless you live in an arid location, I recommend that it remain a winter tradition as humidity turns it into a sticky mess. I based the recipe on my Grandma Henderson's Butter Toffee recipe and just went from there. I don't think she'd mind, though I wish I could have shared them with her.
Its a simple recipe, but you do want to have your ingredients measured ahead of time and ready to go. Also, a reliable candy thermometer is a must.
1/2 bag small pretzel twists (traditional pretzel shape, the small ones) (2010 update, use the square ones!)
1 cup butter (use the real stuff)
1 cup sugar
3 TBS water
1 TBS corn syrup
6 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli for this)
Place pretzels in a single, solid layer on a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides), put aside.
Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Add water and corn syrup, stirring to combine.
Heat to 290°, stirring frequently. Watch closely after 280°, it goes fast.
As soon as temperature reaches 290°, remove from heat and pour quickly over pretzels, covering as many pretzels as possible.
Allow toffee to cool slightly (a couple of minutes), then sprinkle surface with chocolate chips. Allow chocolate to heat through (it will become glossy) then spread over surface of toffee.
Allow to cool completely, then break into bite sized (pretzel-sized) pieces.
Store in a cool location and try not to eat them all at once!
Hint: Don't discard the little bits that remain in the pan after removing the toffee pretzels, those bits make a killer salty/sweet ice cream topping!
12/21/09 Update: I tried the recipe with Butter Twist pretzels today and they are very tasty. More density of pretzel flavor and saltiness (but also more expensive). Either way, its a decadent recipe that makes a great little gift, stocking stuffer or bribe : )