Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation week - a time to show teachers (and/or daycare providers, administrators, etc.) just how grateful you are for all that they do for your children.

There are quite a few websites you can go to in order to get ideas of just how to show your appreciation. I tend to go the 'handmade' route when giving gifts, so this year I decided to make chocolate covered pretzels and brownies for my daughter's daycare providers. I hope they like chocolate...but what do they expect from a mom who is 8 months pregnant?

I used two different 'recipes' to make the chocolate covering on the pretzels.

(1) Wilton Candy Melts
I went to Wal-Mart and saw Wilton Candy Melts for $3.25 (usually much more expensive at craft stores such as Joann and Michaels). I thought I would give them a try since their sole purpose for existence is to melt, mold, and harden.

  • 12 ounce bag of Wilton Candy Melts
  • Pour the bag of Candy Melts into microwavable bowl
  • Microwave for 2 minutes at half power (power 5 on my microwave)
  • Mix
  • Microwave for another 25 seconds at half power
After melting the chocolate, I used a silicone scraper to coat pretzels rods with chocolate and placed them on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. A 10 ounce bag of pretzel rods contains about 27 rods but you have to remember that some of them will be broken. I bought two bags of rods and found that the 12 ounce bag of Wilton Candy Melts made about 30 rods. I sprinkled pecans on half of the pretzels and then put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

The pretzel rods turned out really well - the chocolate hardened like a charm and didn't get soft after sitting at room temperature.

(2) Nestle Morsels
A recipe I retrieved online was to use semi-sweet morsels and shortening as the chocolate dipping. The recipe was 12 ounce bag of morsels and 1 tablespoon of shortening.

  • Combine 12 ounce bag of morsels and 1 tablespoon of shortening in microwavable bowl
  • Microwave at half power (power 5 on my microwave) for 1 minute
  • Mix
  • Microwave at half power for another 30 seconds, or as needed.
After melting the chocolate, I dipped Snyders Olde Tyme pretzels (regular pretzels) into the chocolate with a pair of tongs. After being dipped, I tapped the pretzel gently (holding it with tongs) to remove excess chocolate. I placed them on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

While the pretzels covered easily with the chocolate, the chocolate seemed to soften after being set out at room temperature...perhaps it was the shortening? In the future, I will stick to the Wilton Candy Melts.

I put the pretzels in decorative plastic bags and put them in a basket that I decorated with flowers and ribbon for my daughter's two daycare providers. My husband said they would think the pretzels and brownies in the basket were store bought, so I made a little tag stating that they were handmade (by my daughter). I used one of the many fonts I downloaded from Kevin and Amanda.

Shockingly enough, I was unable to find Teacher Appreciation Day greeting cards. So, I decided to take some blank cards and make my own using this Word Art I created. I printed it out on colored paper and glued it onto the front of a blank card. Feel free to download here:

For the administrators and a few other people who work closely with my daughter, I put together bags with some of the chocolate covered pretzels and brownies. I decorated the bags with a little name tag for each, and a little flower to dress it up.

Hope these give you some ideas for future gifts!


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