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A creative twist: Kids love making (and eating) pretzel treats

Fill circle pretzels with chocolate and place nuts or candy in the middle to create a tasty sweet-and-salty treat.
Fill circle pretzels with chocolate and place nuts or candy in the middle to create a tasty sweet-and-salty treat.

Now that the kids have come down off their holiday sugar high, it may be safe to round up some more sweets for them. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is the perfect time to make some sweet treats that will tide them over until Easter. They can have some creative fun at the same time.

Speaking for my grandchildren, I know they love making these sweet-and-salty candy pretzels that I just learned to make. I am probably the only one who did not know how to make these. But, just in case you’re in the dark too, here’s the recipe. 

Chocolate pretzels

Place mini pretzels or small pretzel rings on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Place a chocolate kiss (unwrapped) in the center of each pretzel. Bake in a preheated 300-degree oven for 1 to 2 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and stick an M&M on the top of each kiss. 

You can also use Rolo candy pieces, which contain chocolate and caramel.

All these treats are easy to make and the kids will start creating their own version after a while.

There is a way to make pretzel animals, but I have not tried those yet. You probably can figure it out just looking at them; they look pretty simple. So, get going and create!

For your Valentine 

Try this wickedly rich pie that can be ready to serve before the coffee percolates.

4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate

1 cup butter or margarine

1 can (13 ounces) evaporated milk

1 1/3 cups coconut

3 eggs, slightly beaten

½ cup sugar

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Whipped cream

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add milk, coconut, eggs, and sugar; stir until well-blended. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes; it will begin to crack, like a pecan pie. Cool. Store in the refrigerator. When cool, garnish with whipped cream and serve.

Start with a cookie

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 roll (18 ounces) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons water or milk

A few drops green food color

Assorted small candy sprinkles, edible glitter and/or decorator sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the flour on work surface.

On floured surface, roll half of the dough to ¼-inch thickness; place remaining dough in refrigerator. With 1 ½-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out about 18 small star-shaped cookies. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat with 2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter and 2 ¼-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, using remaining half of dough, re-rolled dough scraps and flour.

Bake 6 to 10 minutes or until light golden-brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and enough milk for desired spreading consistency; stir in food color. Frost and decorate cookies as desired; let stand about 15 minutes or until frosting is set. Place 2 ¼-inch cookies on platter, stack 2-inch cookie on top of each larger cookie, with star points alternating. Top with 1 ½-inch cookie, with star points alternating, to form tree shape.

layer bars

Bake these delicious bars, using Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies sprinkled with cranberries, chips, and pretzels. A perfect dessert for a bunch.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 3 hours, 5 minutes

Makes: 24

1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 egg

1 cup chopped fresh cranberries

1 cup white vanilla baking chips 

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup coarsely crushed pretzels 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray. Break up cookie dough into pan. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until puffed and edges are golden-brown.

In medium-size bowl, beat condensed milk, orange peel and egg with whisk until combined. Remove partially baked crust from oven. Spread milk mixture evenly over crust; sprinkle evenly with cranberries, chips and pretzels.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes longer or until center is set. Cool 1 1/2 hours. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.



sandwich cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Makes: 18

1⁄8 cup sugar

1 roll (16.5 ounce) Pillsbury refrigerated gingerbread cookies

¼ cup baking cocoa


2 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 teaspoons milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, place sugar in large bowl, break up cookie dough.

Stir or knead in cocoa until well-blended. Shape dough into 36 (1-inch) balls. 

On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Press each flat, with smooth-bottomed glass dipped in sugar.

Bake 6 to 9 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.

In medium-size bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Spread about 2 heaping teaspoons filling between bottoms of pairs of cooled cookies.

Tip of the week

For a smooth flavor for hot tea and iced tea, use an old-fashioned lemon drop in place of sugar, or alone.

Glad to be back

You may have noticed I was under the weather for a couple of weeks. I hope you enjoyed the “rerun” columns. I know I missed some of your calls and emails, so if you sent a message that was not addressed, please send it again. Thanks.

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