Yesterday afternoon I began my second Christmas Baking project: Chocolate Covered Pretzels. I had three large bags of miniature pretzels along with three kinds of chocolate (white, milk, and dark) to make a large variety of treats. I melted the first bag of chocolate and hit my first major problem: over-heating. If you overheat chocolate (which is easy to do in the microwave), it turns into a fudge-like glob. Luckily, I had only slightly overcooked the chocolate. I added a bit of warmed milk, which took care of that problem. I started coating the pretzels, and they looked great...until they sat for 3-4 minutes. Thanks to gravity, the tops of the pretzels looked barely covered after sitting for just a few minutes!!! Well this should be easy to fix: let them sit and then double coat the pretzel and dry it on the reverse side.
I spent a total of 2 hours coating (and recoating) the pretzels before they were finally set enough to taste them. I popped one into my mouth and...stale. The pretzels from the bag tasted fine, so I looked online to find out why the pretzels turned out this way. Apparently, the milk I added in (easy fix #1) must have soaked into the pretzels and then dried out, leaving them stale.
So, there I was staring at an entire batch of stale chocolate coated pretzels at 11:30 PM with no way to fix this problem. Normally, I would have eaten all the pretzels out of spite (and, let's be honest, stress) and scrapped the idea all together. Instead, I bagged up the pretzels I made ("Doug will still eat them"), cleaned up the kitchen, shrugged it off and went to bed.
Instead of reacting and labeling the day as a "Disaster," it is much better to think of it as a "Development." I have learned a lot about making chocolate dipped pretzels. I have come up with several ways to successfully use these ingredients to 1) try making the pretzels again correctly or 2) make something different, but just as good (like chocolate pretzel bark).
I really believe that my choice to step back before reacting is a HUGE indicator that I am really decelerating and enjoying life more! I have come up with a new saying to remind myself of this for the next time something interferes with plans or goes wrong: "Speed bumps only hinder cars that are going too fast."
I promise to post pics of whatever chocolate/pretzel project I complete ;)