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The Simple Dessert I Serve When I'm Strapped for Time

Why chocolate-dipped pretzels are actually a secret weapon for hosts.
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Serving tray available at Farmhouse Pottery

Serving tray available at Farmhouse Pottery

I'm an enormous fan of chocolate-covered pretzels, but have always been a little disappointed in store-bought versions—the chocolate is usually mediocre and the ratio of chocolate-to-pretzel is often off. When we hit the bottom of our bag recently, I set out to make my own using high-quality chocolate and only dunking each one halfway to get the right ratio. A happy accident came from using Sloan's unsalted snack pretzels, which inspired me to add Himalyan pink salt on top of the chocolate. Since the salt hits your tongue before the sweet, they aren't quite as cloying. The "recipe" is so simple—they take about 15 minutes to make, including time to cool—but I was amazed at what a difference the homemade touch made.

This realization returned to me the other night when I was hosting a dinner where the meal was elaborate enough that it felt like baking a pie or cake for dessert would be overkill (plus I was short on time). A few minutes before guests arrived, I prepared the pretzels, dunking them into chocolate melted in the microwave, then placed them on parchment-lined trays and sprinkled salt over-top before setting them into the refrigerator to chill during dinner. After we ate, I set a platter of the pretzels in the center of the dinner table for dessert. What I loved most was the communal feel—rather than individual dessert plates, this created a casual vibe where everyone reached into the center of the table to share. It was the perfect sweet touch, and one that didn't require an entire day to prepare (or even an entire half-hour).

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