Fratelli Perata Winery
Caramel Pretzel Bites

Chocolate, caramel, and pretzels-Oh-My! You just can't go wrong. And when these are paired with the 2011 Petite Sirah it is an amazing combination. Petite Sirah is known for its fruit and bold character that tends toward the higher tannins. Non-fruit flavors that may be present include smoke, caramel, pepper, cloves, mocha, and leather. This 2011 is softer due to the weather that we experienced and the notes of cloves, mocha, and caramel pair delightfully with these salty, caramel, chocolaty bites.

2 tsp. butter, softened
4 cups pretzel sticks
2-1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, cubed
1 cup corn syrup
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pkg. (11-1/2 oz) dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. shortening, divided
cup white baking chips

Begin by lining a 13x9 in pan with foil: grease the foil with butter. Spread pretzels and pecans on bottom of prepared pan. Don't make the layer too thick, as the caramel will not reach overlapped pretzels. In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, cubed butter, corn syrup, milk and salt; cook and stir over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 240˚. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Then pour over pretzel mixture.

In the microwave or double-boiler, melt chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp. shortening; stir until smooth. Spread over caramel layer. Then melt the white baking chips and remaining shortening; stirring until smooth then drizzle over top. Let stand until set. Ours took about 3 hours in the refrigerator. Lift candy out of pan by the foil. Use a buttered knife to cut the candy into pieces. This recipe will yield about 70 bite sized pieces so be ready to share!