When my kids were little, we were always in the kitchen. One of our favorite Halloween-themed treats for home, class parties, or play dates were (and still are) Monster Pretzel Rods. Think of them as a ghoulish take on the chocolate covered pretzels often seen on Christmas cookie trays.
Don’t let baking commercials fool you: creating in the kitchen with young children can be challenging, but if you follow a few guidelines and keep simple, it can also be a lot of fun. Some of my absolute favorite memories involve time in the kitchen with my children.
What You Need to Make Pretzel Rods
To make Halloween Monster Pretzel Rods all you need is a little imagination, pretzel rods, candy melting wafers, gel food coloring, and an assortment of candy eyeballs, mustaches, lips, and sprinkles.
What Are the Best Melting Wafers?
You can find melting wafers, candy melts, or almond bark at your local supermarket or craft store.
Technically, melting wafers are not chocolate. They lack cocoa butter and are made mostly of vegetable oil and sugar, so they are called either candy or melting wafers. The intended purpose of a candy melt or wafer is to look and give the feel and taste of chocolate, without needing to temper it to set.
In most cases, if you’ve eaten a chocolate covered pretzel, it’s probably made with candy wafers, melts or almond bark.
My preferred brand of melting wafer is Ghirardelli. The vanilla-flavored melting wafers come in a 10-ounce bag, melt well, and have a pleasing white chocolate taste.
Melting wafers are easier to work with than actual white chocolate, and they take color a little better because white chocolate is actually more of an ivory color whereas the melting wafers are a pure white. This is nice if you want to add a mummy to your monster-themed rods.
You can buy pre-colored melting wafers at many craft stores, but they taste like chalk to me, so I don’t usually recommend them. Almond bark would also work, but it’s not as easy to melt as wafers.
What Is the Best Food Coloring?
It’s best to use a gel food coloring, which you can find at craft stores.
Craft stores also have a huge color selection. You could make all kinds of monsters with all kinds of crazy colors! Don't use liquid food coloring to dye the melting wafers. It will cause it to seize up.
Where Can You Find the Ingredients?
If I want to really dress up my pretzel rods, I swing by my local craft store and hit their baking aisle, where I can find multi-colored and multi-sized candy eyeballs, mustaches, bow ties, lips, and smiles. It’s also at the craft store where I buy the gel food coloring.
Don’t feel like you have to run all over town to pick up ingredients for this recipe. You can make perfectly fantastic monster pretzels with the melting wafers, candy eyeballs, and some sprinkles. All of which should be easy to find at the grocery store or online. You don’t need to color the melting wafers. I just like to mix things up a bit.
Tips for Making These With Kids
- Set up individual workstations. Give each child his or her own piece of parchment, chocolate dipping cup, pretzels, and candy decorations.
- Set up their stations and melt the wafers while they watch a cartoon.
- They are going to eat most of the candy eyeballs and lick their fingers 1,000 times then touch all the food, but you will be the coolest parent on the block, and they will love you for it. Accept the sprinkles and eyeballs in the nooks and crannies of your kitchen and have a little fun!
How Far in Advance Can I Make Dipped Pretzel Rods?
Pretzel rods can last for up to three weeks when stored on the counter in an airtight container. They will technically last longer than that, but the pretzels will get stale. I, however, have yet to see one of my kids turn down a stale pretzel dipped in candy.
Need More Fun Halloween Food Ideas
Halloween Chocolate Covered Monster Pretzels
This recipe calls for food coloring gel. Don’t use liquid food coloring because it will cause the melting candies to seize up. Some grocery stores carry the gel, but it’s more often found at craft stores in their baking section.
- 1 (12 oz) bag long pretzels rods
- 20 ounces white melting wafers or almond bark
- 2 teaspoons solid coconut oil
- 1 green jar gel food coloring
- 1 purple jar gel food coloring
- 1 teal jar gel food coloring
- 1 package of candy googly eyes and lips
- 1 package candy mustaches
- Assorted sprinkles
Set up your workstation:
Lay out a piece of parchment paper. Remove all the candy pieces and put them in individual bowls. If doing this with young children, give each child his or her own workstation and divide the candy pieces equally among them.
Melt the wafers:
In a small bowl, add about half of the melting wafers and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Melt it in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals stirring each time. Once the wafers are completely melted divide it among three dishes. I like tall, slender juice glasses because they are easier to dip the rods and have them covered well, but you can use anything.
Repeat with the remaining melting wafers and oil. Add to the divided melted wafers. (I do this in two batches because it’s easy to burn candy melts in the microwave, and if I divide it, the wafers melt with less time in the microwave and reduces the likelihood that I will burn the candy.)
Add the gel food coloring a little at a time to each dish and stir until you reach your desired color. Keep in mind gels, pastes, and powders are more concentrated than liquid food coloring.
Dip and decorate:
Dip a pretzel rod into the melted and colored wafers, letting some drip off. Lay it on the piece of parchment and add the eyeballs, mustaches and other assorted decorations. Let them dry on the parchment paper until the melting wafers have firmed up – about 10 to 15 minutes.
If they don’t firm up or you need them to firm up more quickly, slide the parchment onto a baking sheet and pop them in the refrigerator.
If your melting wafers start to harden during the dipping process. Just put the dish back in the microwave and zap it for 5 to 10 seconds at a time until it reaches dipping consistency.