Trick With a Treat: Chili Chocolate Pretzel Sticks
By: Angela Keyser, HQO Marketing Director
Halloween is here! Let the parading of the costumes begin, right? If you’re anything like me, you kinda wish you were still young enough to run around the neighborhood and get free candy once a year. Well, surprise the adults that show up to your door with these fun homemade treats. They’re a fun spin on the traditional chocolate covered pretzels most people love. But, there’s a little trick to these treats, the chocolate is infused with just a touch of chili! (Herb, spice and tea-infused chocolate is a trend we’re starting to see more of online and in specialty food lines. If you don’t like chilies, experiment with things like cardamom, lavender or chia tea.) Enjoy!
5 Simple Ingredients + 1 Optional Ingredient
1 bag of salted pretzel sticks 12 oz of dark chocolate chips 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon chili powder Holiday Sprinkles (optional) Step 1: Combine chocolate chips and spices in a microwave safe bowl and heat at 50% power for one to one-and-a-half minutes. Stir and repeat until chocolate is melted. Step 2: Pour melted chocolate into a cup and dip each pretzel in the chocolate.
A simple little tip: put the melted chocolate in a glass. It makes dipping the pretzels so much easier.
Step 3: Lay the chocolate-covered pretzels on wax or parchment paper and sprinkle with holiday-appropriate sprinkles.
Step 4: Allow the chocolate to set for 30 minutes to one hour or place in the refrigerator for faster setting time. Recipe Source: Adapted from Aztec Chocolate Bark recipe found here.
DIY All-Natural Egg Dyes
By Angela Keyser, Marketing Manager
It’s almost Easter and if your family is anything like mine, that means Easter Egg dying is fast approaching. Instead of using artificial colors this year, why not try to create some beautiful “made-from-Mother-Nature” colors from your very own pantry or refrigerator. They’re not only all-natural and safe, making them can be a lot of fun.
First, you need to decide what colors you want to make and how you’re going to make those colors. There are several options.:
Red – You can make red with chopped cranberries, pomegranate juice, red onion skins or your favorite red tea.
Pomegranate created almost a brown color. I used 1 cup pomegranate juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
I used the dried skins of 3 red onions, 1 cup of boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. The egg sat in the solution for several hours.
Pink – Beets or avocado skins make beautiful pink colors.
For a beautiful magenta color, I used 1 chopped beet, 1 cup of boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. This was one of the best dyes and I’ll definitely use it again.
Orange – Paprika will give you a vibrant orange.
Paprika was a little temperamental. I don’t know if it was the egg or the paprika that didn’t want to cooperate! I think I maybe used too much paprika. My recommendation would be to stick to the 1 tablespoon to 1 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar ratio. It did create a beautiful orange color.
Yellow – Chopped carrot tops can make a beautiful bold yellow while turmeric powder will give you a mustard yellow. You can also use chamomile tea, green tea or chopped orange peels.
Tumeric was another one of my favorites. A beautiful yellow color was created using 1 tablespoon tumeric powder, 1 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. You have to let the egg sit in the dye for several hours to get a bold yellow color. Totally worth the wait!
Green – Chopped kale leaves and matcha tea powder (which is green tea powder) make green.
I couldn’t find pure matcha tea in my grocery store so I had to use a blend. The results were still nice but I’d love to see what pure matcha would create. I’m guessing you’d get a beautiful grassy green color. I used 2 teabags, 1 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
Soft Yellow/Green – Chopped spinach, green apple skins or fennel tops will create a soft yellow/green color.
I wanted to give Spinach a try since I had it in the fridge. I finely chopped 1-2 cups of packed spinach and added it to 1 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. I found with some foods boiling the food in the water helps release the colors better. The result was a very pale yellow/green color that intensified as it sat in the fridge the next few days.
Blue – You can use chopped purple cabbage or blue berries for blue. Some red onions will give you more of a blue color than a red as well.
Blueberries were a little funky in color but I still liked it. I used approximately 1 cup of blueberries, 1 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
The red cabbage is a tricky one. While it appeared to have barely worked after sitting in the solution for several hours, after the egg came out of the dye and sat in the refrigerator over night, it became a BEAUTIFUL Robin’s Egg blue! A complete surprise to say the least! I used about 1/4 of a red cabbage, chopped very fine (1-2 cups), 1 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
Purple or Lavender – Red wine, grape juice or Red Zinger tea make purple or lavender.
Grape juice was really cool! The sugars in the juice formed crystals on the egg so it looked like I put glitter on the egg! I simply heated 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar to a boil, let it cool slightly and added the egg.
Brown or Gold – Coffee grounds, brown onion skins or dill seed make brown or gold.
The brown onion skin eggs are a family tradition — my blind grandma made them every year. So, it was extra special to finally learn how to make them. I used the dried skins of 3 brown inions, 1 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. The result was a beautiful golden color that could be mistaken for orange.
The ground coffee (I used instant) created a gorgeous chocolate-looking egg. I added 1 tablespoon coffee grounds to 1 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
Once you determine what ingredients you have to make the various colors, you’re going to want to make sure you have the following:
– Lots of large bowls
– Lots of hot water (boiling in most cases)
– Measuring spoons
– Large covering for your table
– Some plastic gloves for keeping your hands free of food stains
– Cooling racks
– And PLENTY of hard boiled eggs!
Powdered Dye Recipe Guidelines
For dyes using a powder (paprika, turmeric, or teas) you’re going to want to combine 1-2 cups of very hot water with 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar and stir. Then, add 1-2 tablespoons of the powder to your water and vinegar mixture and mix thoroughly. Add your hard boiled egg and let it steep for anywhere from several minutes to several hours. If you’re looking for very bold colors, plan to keep the eggs in the dye for several hours — placing them in the refrigerator to keep the eggs at a safe temperature.
Chopped Food Dye Recipe Guidelines
For dyes using food (carrot tops, beets, cabbage) you’ll want to grate or finely chop 1-2 cups of the food. Boil it in 1-2 cups of water and let it steep in simmering water for several minutes. The longer you let the food steep, the deeper the all-natural dye color usually gets. After you’ve achieved your desired color, strain the food from the water and add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir and then add your hard boiled egg and wait.
The results of the egg dying after a few hours of being out of the solution and in the fridge.
I hope this blog post inspires a slight reinvention to a long-standing tradition in your home at Easter time. Dying eggs the natural way is fun, safe and a great way for children to learn more about food. If you used all-natural egg dyes this year please share your recipes, tips and photos!
From all of us at High Quality Organics, we wish you and your family a Blessed Easter, Happy Passover and very Happy Spring!