When I was watching the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+ I absolutely fell in love with Mantis (Pom Klementieff). I felt so bad when she gave up her candy cane to help smooth over Drax’s interaction with the police. I felt like that instantly put her on the nice list! So I decided to make these peppermint bark pretzel sticks in honor of her. Hopefully, she gets all the candy canes she desires from Santa this year! So please enjoy Mantis’ Peppermint Bark Pretzel Sticks, perfect for your holiday season!
- 12 oz bag pretzel rods
- 12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
- 24 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 12.7 oz box mini candy canes
- Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Sort through pretzel rods to find 24 unbroken ones. Small breaks or chips at one end are fine, just cover that end in the chocolate. If there aren't 24 unbroken ones, open another bag, or use the broken ones (they still taste fine) and it will offer different sizes when you serve them.
- Put water in bottom of a double boiler and begin heating on stove over medium-low heat.
- Put whole bag (approximately 2 cups) of white chocolate chips in top of double boiler. Stir occasionally until the chips are fully melted and chocolate is smooth.
- One at a time, hold pretzel rods over the chocolate and cover 3/4's of the rod with white chocolate. Shake the excess chocolate back into the double boiler.
- Place the chocolate coated pretzel rods onto the parchment lined baking sheets and allow to cool completely (at least 30 minutes). Make sure chocolate is COMPLETELY set or it will melt in the next step and ruin the appearance.
- While the chocolate is setting, unwrap the candy canes and roughly crush them. The best way to do this is to place them in a sealable plastic bag, remove as much air as possible, and bang away with something heavy. Rolling pins work very well for this. The candy canes should be in 1/4'' or smaller pieces, but not dust.
- Pour candy cane pieces onto a plate.
- Pour 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips into a clean double boiler (if you can fit 3 cups go ahead, you'll need it). Melt chips, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is smooth.
- Be prepared to work quickly! One at a time, hold the white chocolate covered pretzel rods over the semi-sweet chocolate. Use a spoon to quickly coat the pretzel rod in chocolate, leaving some of the white chocolate showing (exact amount is up to you, but at least 1 to 2 inches of white). Do not spend a lot of time putting to chocolate on or shaking the excess on, that will melt the white chocolate. This will be a much thicker coat than the white chocolate.
- Quickly roll the pretzel rod in the crushed candy canes. Then place back on the baking sheet to cool completely (at least 30 minutes again).
- If you run low on chocolate add more chips to the pot and give them time to melt, then continue until all the pretzel rods have been covered in semi-sweet chocolate and rolled in the candy cane pieces.
- Once the chocolate is completely set enjoy!
These Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired treats are easy yet impressive
Confession time, I make chocolate-covered pretzels every year at Christmas time, although this is the first year I’ve done a peppermint bark-inspired one. They are cheap, they are easy, people love them, and they assume it takes a lot of work to make them. But it doesn’t! Usually, I just dip them in some chocolate, sometimes a second coat if I’m feeling generous. Then use a different type of chocolate and a fork to make fancy-looking strips on top. Or sprinkle some festive sprinkles. Sometimes I roll them in chopped peanuts.
The important part is that it doesn’t take much effort on my part but everyone who gets a bag of them feels really special. It makes them a favorite of mine every year. This recipe is also a great one for holiday potluck parties. Everyone makes cookies this time of year. And cookies are great. But these provide a nice alternative that will really stand out from the cookie crowd.
Melting chocolate and double boilers
In the directions, I say to melt the chocolate in a double boiler. A double boiler is a special pot that is actually two pots, a smaller one that fits tightly over a bigger one. The bottom pot gets filled with water that is heated until steam is created. The steam heats the top pot in a gentle way to keep tricky things, like chocolate, melting without burning.
If you don’t have one of these special pots, never fear! I don’t have one either. I just stack two pots on top of each other. Ideally, I use two pots that have identical, or close to it, circumferences so that steam doesn’t escape between the two. Besides being a safety hazard, escaping steam slows the heating process and could introduce water into the top pot (very bad for chocolate). So keep them close in size!
More special equipment
Okay, most people don’t think of it as special equipment. But parchment paper is key to this recipe. The chocolate won’t stick to the parchment paper, allowing the pretzel rods to cool without losing any chocolate. If you’ve read my other recipes you know that I love parchment paper. And now you know it’s not just for baked goods!
Crush those candy canes
This step is great for a little anger release. It’s also one that the kids love to get in on. If I’m really honest, the easiest way to crush the candy canes is to pulse them in a food processor. Just be sure not to pulverize them to complete dust, these sticks look best with some actual chunks of candy cane on them.
But easy and fun are different. And the most exciting way to crunch these up is by beating the bejesus out of them. Place the candy canes in a sealable plastic bag. Remove as much air as you can from the bag before laying it flat on the table or counter. Then take something heavy, rolling pins and meat tenderizers work really well.
Funnily enough, hammers are bad choices, the heads are too small. They deliver too much force to too small an area. And they tend to rip the bag too. So take your chosen whacking device and start pounding the candy canes. It isn’t really a full-out beating, you’re not going for dust. But it is more than tapping. You’re aiming for a variety of sizes from 1/4″ down to just over dust size. Try a few experimental swings and you’ll find what works.
Have patience with Mantis’ Peppermint Bark Pretzel Sticks
This recipe is easy but make sure to have patience at each step. It’s really easy to burn chocolate so keep the heat nice and low. It’s okay to have it a little higher when you’re first warming up the double boiler but make sure to turn it down when melting the chocolate. Stirring the melting chocolate is important too. It doesn’t have to be constant. But the act of stirring helps bring the chocolate together and smooth out lumps so it melts without burning.
Be sure to let the chocolate completely cool between layers too. If you don’t, the white chocolate will melt into the semi-sweet chocolate and you’ll end up with a swirly mess that won’t impress anyone. The same thing will happen if you are too slow putting the semi-sweet chocolate layer on. So after all that patience, be ready to move quickly during the second chocolate phase.
Secret second recipe!
I hate wasting things in the kitchen. Whenever I melt chocolate there is always some leftover and I find something to do with it. This time I also had some leftover crushed-up candy canes. Obvious solution? I dumped the extra candy canes into the chocolate and stirred it all up. Then I plopped it onto some parchment paper and spread it out. Once the chocolate cooled I broke it into pieces and voila! Elf poop. My kids are loving it, especially my youngest. He thought the Pretzel rods were a little overwhelming but he loves the elf poop. His Dad’s face, when he asked him for some, was priceless.
I hope you enjoy these peppermint bark pretzel sticks and elf poop. They’re really festive and delicious. When everyone oohs and ahhs over your chocolate work just tell them yes, chocolate can be so tricky and of course, you’ll make them next year, as long as you can find the time. I won’t tell! Just remember, if anyone thinks they look like little men, they’re just being stupid!
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is currently streaming on Disney+. What do you think of Mantis’ Peppermint Bark Pretzel Sticks? Let us know on Twitter or other social media. And if you haven’t already, check out our other most recent Cosmic Cuisine, Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Pop-Tarts!