25 homemade holiday gift recipes: Snowflake pretzel rods

Snowflake pretzel rods, 1 of 25 homemade holiday gift ideas from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

Crunch meets chocolate! Decorated chocolate-covered pretzel rods are sweet, but not too sweet, during a holiday season likely to be drenched in colorful, sugary decorations. Kids can make them with adult supervision, and it won't take all night.

Snowflake pretzel rods are just one way to get crafty this holiday season with homemade gifts from the kitchen. We've compiled 25 great ideas, ranging from quick and simple gifts (perfect if you're working with kids) to more intricate projects that call for a little extra time and patience.

Some gifts will last for weeks, perhaps more. Others are best eaten within a day or two.

Not only are homemade gifts a great way to save money during the holiday season, they're a thoughtful and creative way to show how much you care.

SNOWFLAKE PRETZEL RODS

30 minutes / Makes about 45 pretzel rods

Note: Sanding sugar decorations will turn into a hot mess when they hit the chocolate. You need nonpareil decorations and old-fashioned sprinkles for this job. Mix and match the decorated pretzels for gift bags.

1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, more if needed

1 (16-ounce) bag large (7- to 8-inch) pretzel rods

About 2 cups cookie and cupcake candy decorations, such as nonpareils and sprinkles (colored sugar granules are not recommended, as these may melt into the chocolate)

1. Melt the chocolate chips in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the chocolate melts completely.

2. Meanwhile, line a couple of rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Place each candy decoration in a separate large bowl.

3. Hold a pretzel rod over the melted chocolate. Use a spatula or spoon to drizzle chocolate over the rod, then spread the chocolate so it evenly coats the rod in a thin layer. (Leave a couple of inches free of chocolate at the bottom of the rod to grasp.)

4. Acting quickly before the chocolate hardens, use separate spoons to sprinkle the candy decorations over the chocolate coating. Repeat until all the rods are coated and decorated. (You should have enough chocolate to thinly coat the rods; melt a little more if you run out.)

3. Set the decorated pretzel rods on the baking sheets when finished. Allow chocolate to harden and dry before storing or packaging.

Each pretzel rod: 126 calories; 2 grams protein; 20 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 5 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 4 mg. cholesterol; 228 mg. sodium. 

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