Sweet ‘n Salty with a toasted nut crunch, these pretzel caramels are addictive and super easy to make!
This recipe, is well, either a bit more advanced IF you make your own chewy soft caramel OR is SUPER easy if you go the 4-ingredient way. One of the things I like to do is offer both ways – fast (if you will) and those that really want a challenge in the kitchen. Ever since I was taught how to make homemade soft chewy caramel candy I haven’t bought those individually wrapped ones since – going on decades to be honest. The store bought ones are good but there’s just something more about the homemade ones. It’s less expensive and it’s a sense of accomplishment when you finally nail it. The instructions to make it are pretty straight forward but you will need a candy thermometer to make it. They are inexpensive and it must be a candy thermometer.
Turtles or pecan candies have been around since pretty much ever. This recipe is very similar to that – sort of. Mine uses toasted macadamia nuts and round pretzel circles. I actually found these pretzel rings at Aldi (which I seriously LOVE!). Every time I grab some to snack on I absolutely MUST put a ring on every finger and treat it like it’s edible jewelry. Yeah I know, I’m a 12 year old dork at times. But hey I know I’m not alone all y’all pretzel ring wearing people. #dontjudgeme
Did you ever get in a mood for something but you’re not sure what you want? Yeah that was me and kind of how this recipe came to life. It was one of those days where I swear I had a tapeworm as I pretty much ate everything in sight but NOTHING satisfied me. I mean even bacon was ‘meh’ to me. Crazy, right! Well that’s when I started to mix my bites of stuff – bacon and chocolate in the same bite, peanut butter and chocolate, pretzels and bacon, pretzels and chocolate… See where I’m going? *note – replaced image as apparently I was so anxious to post this I can’t spell pretzel LOL
The pretzels and chocolate combo was a winner but I wanted more. So I dug through my cabinets and started to pull out stuff. I had a container of leftover caramel candies I made so I grabbed those and figured I might as well make some sort of turtle candy so to the freezer I went.
Do you keep your nuts in the freezer? No? You really should. Nuts contain oil that will turn rancid in no time. I keep my nuts in the freezer. <insert 14 year old giggle here> Stop it, you’re bad. LOL
Anyway, as I was digging through my freezer looking for pecans as turtle candy is made with pecans I saw that I didn’t have any. All I had were almonds, walnuts (which I really don’t like as they taste kind of mealy) and macadamia nuts. Now macadamia nuts are pricey, I get it. I bought this bag at Costco for a pretty awesome price (I think it was marked wrong to be honest). So if you can’t find reasonably priced macadamia nuts, you could use plain peanuts (or pecans). And yes you can omit the nuts completely if you’re allergic.
As you can see above, assembling these are pretty simple – pretzel, chocolate in the ring, toasted macadamia nuts (always toast them to bring out more flavor!), caramel, chocolate and then fleur de sel. So a few things:
- To toast your nuts preheat the oven to 350F and place the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes and stirring them (you can shake to toast all sides) half way through. As soon as they are warmed and lightly toasted, remove from the oven and place in a bowl (take them off the pan. If you’re eating a snack you can lightly sprinkle with salt or spices. For this recipe, don’t salt.
- Next, Fleur de Sel. This is harvested by drying French seawater in shallow pools. As the water evaporates, crystals form. If the wind, sun and temperature conditions are right, these white crystals will form on the surface. of the shallow pool. There is a very short window when this can be harvested as it needs to be captured quickly before it precipitates back into the water. It contains a high concentration of minerals and has premium flavor. You cannot or should not ever use it as a replacement for table salt or kosher salt. Fleur de Sel is a finishing salt.
Who else here LOVES a sprinkling of salt on their chocolate or caramel?
This girl does! Now I know what you’re thinking “but Lor, the pretzels have salt on them, will this be salty?” Unless you’re pretzels are pretty much white because all of the salt then no you’ll be fine. Remember this is just a finishing touch of crunchy salt. It’s different.
These little candies last forever. If you put them in the fridge the chocolate has the potential of turning white (but it’s still edible). I tend to store mine in an air tight, dry container.
Okay fine… I store them in my belly. Fine, are you happy? LOL Seriously these things are AMAZING!!!
What I love most about them, besides the taste, is that they make the most perfect gift! Once they are all dried and hard, bag them up in a clear cellophane bag, tie a pretty ribbon on it and make someone’s day. I know if you gave me this, you’d make my entire week!
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup light corn syrup
- 1/8 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 1/2 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 1 vanilla bean pod (split and seeds scraped out) or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2–3 cups pretzel rings
- 8 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped, melted
- 1 1/2 cups toasted macadamia nuts
- Fleur de sel
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a ring every half inch apart. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoon chocolate into the center of the pretzel ring. Place 1 macadamia nut in the middle and gently push down. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes or until just set. Spoon 1-2 teaspoon of caramel over top of the nut, chocolate and pretzel. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
- Once the caramel on the pretzels has firmed up, drizzle 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate on top. Sprinkle Fleur de sel. Allow to cool completely. To store, layer between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature.
These are items I find to be EXTREMELY useful (and a must) when making caramel
Can you use prepared soft caramel candies?
Yes you can – just microwave them (until it’s soft and spoonable). But I’d love for you to make homemade caramel once. It’s AMAZING!!!
Keywords: candy, snacks, holiday gifts, munchies