If you're looking for an easy holiday dessert that yields plenty for a crowd, makes a great food gift, stores for weeks, and uses basic ingredients, look no further than these dark chocolate peppermint pretzels. Flavored with just the right amount of peppermint, this festive sweet and salty combo is so fun to decorate for the Christmas season.
Last year I caught online chatter that Costco was selling chocolate covered pretzels flavored after Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies that were not to be missed. I mean, YUM.
Try as I might, our local store never stocked them throughout the holiday season. Still stuck on the idea of these pretzels, I set to work on making them myself. Homemade peppermint chocolate covered pretzels are really pretty easy, and with a few tricks and pointers you can cruise through a making a whole batch with less stress (and mess!).
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- It uses very basic ingredients, including plain old chocolate chips and supermarket-available extract. There's no need for special melting wafers, couverture chocolate, or flavored emulsions.
- Refined coconut oil is the secret ingredient! It's essential in being able to add water/alcohol-based extract to melted chocolate, is totally flavorless, and helps the chocolate coating set up beautifully.
- Their gourmet flavor makes these pretzels perfect for gifting. Simple sprinkle or crushed candy cane decoration has them Christmas-ready in no time.
- Much like their cookie namesakes, Thin Mint pretzels are extra delicious when stored in the fridge or freezer.
- Pretzels: While many different pretzel shapes would work, I'm partial to mini twists as they have a great salty pretzel to chocolate ratio.
- Dark Chocolate: Basic dark chocolate chips work just fine here, but you can also chop up your favorite kind of dark chocolate bar to use, too.
- Peppermint Extract: Different than plain mint extract (which is often a blend of spearmint and peppermint), this is a baking extract that provides that classic 100% peppermint chocolate flavor to sweet treats. It's usually comprised of peppermint oil, alcohol, and water.
- Coconut Oil: Not only does this help the chocolate coating harden up (especially when refrigerated), it acts as a vehicle for safely integrating the peppermint extract into the melted chocolate without worry of it seizing. Refined coconut oil is flavorless in this recipe.
Tip: You'll want to get your equipment ready before beginning so you can be the most efficient once the chocolate has melted. Set out several large parchment paper-lined baking sheets for the covered pretzels to go on, or place sheets of parchment paper on clean work surfaces.
- Add chocolate to a small saucepan set over very low heat on the stove. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in a small bowl. Quick 10-15 second bursts in the microwave work well for this. Stir the peppermint extract into the melted coconut oil.
- Pour the peppermint coconut oil over the heating chocolate chips in a small saucepan. Stir as the chocolate melts until it's completely smooth.
- Remove the pan from the heat and dunk pretzels into the chocolate until they're entirely coated. Use whatever utensil is easiest for you for dipping: tongs, two forks, chopsticks, etc. Hold the pretzel above the pan for a few seconds so excess chocolate drips back in.
- Place chocolate covered peppermint pretzels onto the parchment-lined sheets in a single layer. Sprinkle nonpareils or other decorations right away when wet so they stick.
- Let the pretzels sit and harden for several hours. If you have the room, transferring the sheets to the refrigerator will speed up the process.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Prep your space. The chocolate will start cooling right once it's off the heat, so don't waste time looking for baking sheets then. Prep them and line with parchment paper before starting to cook so it's smooth sailing.
- Tiny tongs FTW. My hands get pretty sore wielding full-size kitchen tongs when dipping 100 pretzels. I've found appetizer/mini tongs (around 7 inches long with much smaller tips) require less force to operate and reduce hand strain.
- Reheat chocolate. Don't hesitate to put the pan of chocolate back on the stove over very low heat as it begins to thicken up. Too-cool chocolate will turn thick and gloopy as you try to dip the pretzels and lead to an uneven coating.
- Decorate quickly. If using sprinkles or crushed candy cane pieces as decoration, stop dipping every 2-3 pretzels to sprinkle while they're still wet so they adhere.
- Special diet friendly: Use gluten-free pretzels (Snyder's of Hanover, Glutino) and/or non-dairy dark chocolate. As always, look at the labels on your exact ingredients to ensure they fit your requirements for allergens, cross-contamination risk, etc.
- Switch up your pretzels: Pretzel rods, thins, snaps, or small holiday-shaped pretzels (like Utz) are also good options to use in place of mini twists for this recipe. While unsalted pretzels will of course work, too, salted pretzels provide that quintessential sweet and salty flavor.
- Switch up your chocolate: Milk chocolate or white chocolate are easy swaps for dark.
Standard baking extracts you'll find in the supermarket contain water, which when added to silky smooth melted chocolate will cause it to seize and become a clumpy, broken mess. Combining the water-containing peppermint extract with coconut oil and then mixing it into melting chocolate chips is the safer route in reliably producing smooth flavored melted chocolate.
The peppermint flavor goes a long way in ensuring these Thin Mint pretzels are festive. Holiday sprinkles, such as red and green nonpareils, and crushed candy canes are probably the easiest way to decorate them for Christmas. You can also drizzle red or green colored white chocolate over top.
Homemade chocolate pretzels can last for a surprisingly long time. I kept one batch in the refrigerator for over six weeks and they were just as fresh as the day I made them. The pretzel portion didn't get soft or stale at all.
They are fine stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer. And no thawing is needed if freezing them! They're enjoyable right away. If your kitchen runs warm, you may wish to keep them in the refrigerator to prevent the coating from softening.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels
- 10 ounces (283g) dark chocolate chips or chunks
- 2 teaspoons (9g) refined coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- 6 ounces (170g) mini salted pretzels (about 100 pretzels)
- Festive sprinkles (optional)
- Line several large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside for now.
- Add chocolate chips/chunks to a small saucepan set over very low heat. Meanwhile add coconut oil to a small heat-safe bowl and microwave in 10-15 second bursts until the coconut oil is fully melted and smooth. Stir the peppermint extract into the melted coconut oil.
- Pour the melted coconut oil/peppermint mixture over the chocolate. Stir often as the chocolate melts until it's entirely smooth.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and dip the pretzels in, using tongs or two forks to submerge them to coat fully. Lift up each pretzel over the pan after it's been dipped so the excess drips back in. Place each chocolate pretzel in a single layer on the parchment-lined pans, decorating with sprinkles right when wet if you want.
- Repeat for the remaining pretzels, briefly pausing to place the pan of chocolate back on low heat as needed to warm up again and thin if it cools and thickens too much along the way.
- Let the chocolate peppermint pretzels fully harden at room temperature before serving/storing, though the pans can be transferred to the refrigerator to speed up the process. Store pretzels in air-tight containers at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer for a month or longer.
- Decorating: Pause dipping every 2-3 pretzels to decorate with sprinkles or crushed candy canes before the coating starts to set.
- Storage: Chocolate peppermint pretzels are fine to store at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer. They will not get soft and lose their crunch when chilled, even after storing for weeks in the refrigerator. If frozen they can be enjoyed straight from the freezer (no thawing).
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
Leave a Reply