Peppermint Bark Pretzels Recipe

Naughty and Nice Recipes...

    Holiday time is here and so are the cookies, the candy, the casseroles and all those delectable dips and party foods!  I would be lying if I said all my holiday eats were perfectly balanced.  I’m already dreaming about the bacon wrapped cracker nibbles and ham biscuits my friend Gail makes (recipes are on  My friend Annie has already dropped off some of her amazing Russian tea cake cookies.  I squirreled them away, hidden from the rest of the family (Shh, don’t tell!)  But I do try to maintain some sort of balance between all the parties.
    One of my latest recipes is a good bit naughty and a little bit nice.  They are Peppermint Bark Pretzels!  The pretzel makes it a little less naughty – right?
I figure it just has to be healthier than a chocolate covered piece of cheesecake… 
    Well healthy or not, the mild peppermint flavor and crushed candy canes really spruce up the basic chocolate dipped pretzel.  They are quick and easy to assemble and they make a really nice homemade gift! 

(From my Balanced Eats column in Main Line Media News)

Peppermint Bark Pretzels How-To:


Peppermint Bark Pretzels Recipe:

Christina Verrelli –
Makes about 28 dipped pretzel rods

28 pretzel rods
10 candy canes, crushed
12-ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons solid shortening, divided
12-ounces white chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (for mild flavor)

Line two large baking sheets with wax paper or parchment.  In medium microwave safe bowl, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon shortening by microwaving for 30-second intervals, stirring between, until melted.
Dip and spoon melted chocolate onto pretzel rod, leaving about 1-inch at the top undipped.  Use the back of the spoon to swirl off excess chocolate.  Place on lined baking sheets and chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes to set.

In medium microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon shortening by microwaving for 30-second intervals, stirring between, until melted.  Stir in peppermint extract.  Spoon the melted chocolate mixture into a piping bag or zip top bag.  Snip a small hole in the corner of the zip bag and drizzle the white chocolate over the pretzels.  Sprinkle them with the crushed candy canes.  When set, store in an airtight container.

Note:  To crush the candy canes, you can break them up into 1-inch pieces and pulse them in the food processor or just place them in a zip top bag and whack them around.

Printable Recipe Link: Peppermint Bark Pretzels

Perfect for Pinning ⬇

Peppermint Bark Pretzel Collage.jpg

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  

Happy Holidays!!  Tina  ( :

Pumpkin Mousse Trifle with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

If you were to cross a pumpkin pie with a light fluffy cloud…

this is what you'd get!  It's a super easy no-bake dessert that looks great layered in a large glass bowl or spooned into little mason jars.  I love the creamy, fluffy texture that is layered with crunchy gingersnap cookies.  And…well...salted caramel whipped cream just happens to be one of my favorite things. ( :    

Pumpkin Mousse Trifle w/Salted Caramel Whipped Cream:

Pumpkin Mousse Trifle w/Salted Caramel Whipped Cream Recipe

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud

Makes 10-12 servings


8 ounces gingersnaps (spiced wafers) crumbled
3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup caramel syrup
¼ + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (7 ½ -ounce) jar marshmallow cream


  • Crush gingersnap cookies.
  • Whip heavy cream to almost soft peaks.  
  • Add caramel syrup and salt and continue to whip until stiff peaks.  
  • Mix together pumpkin, vanilla, sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Fold in half the marshmallow cream.  Fold in about 1½ cups whipped cream.  Fold in the rest of the marshmallow cream.  Fold in another 1½ cups whipped cream.
  • Layer pumpkin mousse, cookies, pumpkin mousse and more cookies.  
  • Top with whipped cream and garnish with a drizzle of caramel sauce and cookie crumbs.

Note:  You can make a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate.  The cookies will get softer the longer it sits.  To keep the cookies crunchy, you can make all the components and then assemble closer to serving time.

Printable Recipe: Pumpkin Mousse Trifle w/Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  

I hope you enjoy the recipe!  Tina ( :

Autumn Chopped Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette

When everything on your Thanksgiving table is beige and roasted...

It's nice to have a fresh and colorful salad.  This one combines pear, cucumber and sweet red pepper that is tossed with dried cranberries, feta and a pumpkin vinaigrette.  Toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) are sprinkled on the top.  If you can find it, a drizzle of toasted pumpkin seed oil makes it extra special!

Autumn Chopped Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette:

Autumn Chopped Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette Recipe:


Makes 5 cups (6-8 servings)

Salad Ingredients:

1 seedless (English) Cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 red pear, cored and chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

¼ red onion, chopped

½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1 teaspoon oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

Pumpkin Vinaigrette Ingredients:

¼ cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 small clove garlic

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon dry thyme

½ cup olive oil

optional toasted pumpkin seed oil


In large bowl, toss together chopped cucumber, pear, pepper, onion, parsley, feta and cranberries.

Combine pumpkin, vinegar, syrup, Dijon, garlic, salt, pepper, water and thyme in food processor and blend until well mixed.  With processor running, drizzle in olive oil. 

Mix desired amount of dressing into chopped salad.  Drizzle with a little toasted pumpkin seed oil if desired.

Toast pepitas in a skillet with a little neutral oil and some kosher salt – low heat, keep watch until fragrant and beginning to brown.  They will pop a little bit.

Sprinkle with pepitas right before serving

Printable Recipe: Autumn Chopped Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the recipe.  Tina ( :