Sweet and salty, chocolate covered pretzels are a party classic. Easy to make, able to be made ahead of time, and a fun way to let kids help with the party prep. But during the hotter months, especially here in Phoenix, using chocolate can be a real problem. To get that salty-sweet goodness for the Sprinkles party dessert table, I needed to figure out an alternative to the classic chocolate coating.
The solution: royal icing. Royal icing is a type of icing often used for decorating cookies and constructing gingerbread houses, because it hardens when dry, creating a delicious-but-durable finish. I like to use the recipe on the container of meringue powder (available from cake decorating stores or your local craft store). Americolor is my favorite brand for taste, but all work equally well.
First, whip up a batch of royal icing. As always, be sure that your bowl, beaters, spoons, EVERYTHING is impeccably clean. If there's the smallest speck of grease on the equipment, the royal icing will not set up.
Color the royal icing and thin to a fairly runny consistency, just as if you were flooding cookies. You don't want it too runny, but you want excess to slowly drip off, leaving just a nice, fairly thin coat of icing on your pretzel. I like to put my icing (or chocolate, in cooler months) in a tall glass for the dipping, so I don't have to waste more than necessary.
Dip your pretzels in the cup of icing, and shake and drip off any excess. Set down on waxed paper to dry.
As the icing settles down, you may notice some puddling on the waxed paper. No worries, simply lift up the pretzel and move it to a new spot on the waxed paper. The puddle stays behind, leaving a nicely shaped, nicely dipped pretzel in the new spot. This happened once or twice for each pretzel I made.
Once the puddling has stopped, but before the icing has completely dried, it's time to add the sprinkles! Then just let them dry (preferably overnight), and your sweet and salty pretzel treats will be ready to serve.
And there you have it, a summer work-around for the pesky problem of melting chocolate!