I'm not sure who makes up all these very odd National holidays, and I'm not sure if they're real, but I did see National Pretzel day is April 26 on several sites. O.K., the internet isn't always to be believed, but I'm going with it. So happy National Pretzel Day!
I'm from Philadelphia, the home of the soft pretzel. When I was growing up, there were pretzel carts on almost every corner downtown. Usually we smeared our pretzels with mustard. The soft pretzels were very doughy on the inside but crunchy on the outside and dipped in rock (kosher?) salt. Since I always enjoyed baking bread, I used to make pretzels, easy to do.
So I did a little research on pretzels, and it wasn't surprising to find that the first commercial pretzel bakery in the U.S. was established in 1861 in Lancaster County, PA. In 1935, the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company introduced the automatic pretzel twisting machine. For a history of the pretzel, go here and here.
So when did chocolate covered pretzels come into the picture? Not sure, but don't you like everything with chocolate? Chocolate covered pretzels are usually make with hard pretzels. I love the salt/sweet thing.
Here's an easy recipe. Always use the very best chocolate.
1 1/2 good dark chocolate bars broken into pieces (6-8 oz?)
1 tbsp shortening
pretzels (until your chocolate runs out)
Melt chocolate with shortening in a bowl over simmering water. Remove from heat, but keep over the water.
One at a time drop pretzels into the chocolate. Lift out with a fork, tapping fork against side of bowl to let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
Put pretzels on wire rack (over wax paper). Dry until the chocolate hardens.
How easy is that?