Getting into the Holiday Spirit with Mars & Dove Chocolates– Making Reindeer Antlers!

I am known as a pretty decent cook. In some categories and when I am in the mood, I am really quite good at cooking and baking. I am known for killer cookies and specific holiday treats. When Glam Media asked me to participate in this Reindeer Antler promo for Dove Chocolate=– featuring both their
– new DOVE 71% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bar (hitting the mark on super-premium chocolate with a larger percentage of cacao providing a greater depth of flavor)
along with
DOVE PROMISES Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate,
being the chocoholic that I am, I sort of jumped at the chance.


Hitting the DOVE site, I found that the 71% Cacao Dark Chocolate was brand new!! So I suggest you check out their website to find the local store nearest to you that actually carries the brand. Not everyone will have the 71% Cacao — and it sells FAST!! I found it carried by Walgreens near me– but when I checked the one closest to me, the store was out of it. So I popped onto the site and started calling Walgreen stores in my area to find which stores had a few bars in stock. After all, this is premium chocolate! The Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate will be very easy to find– at most supermarkets, drugstores and mass market stores along with the M&M Minis in Christmas colors of red and green!

Ingredients.

Reynolds Parchment Paper so that you don’t have chocolate sticking to everything and so the chocolate actually sets well. (find this at your local supermarket too!)

1 bag of pretzel sticks– broken into various size pieces to approximate various antler type branches. This is not brand specific but you want the very thin pretzel sticks

M&M Christmas Minis:
Depending if you find the tubes or bags of M&M Christmas Minis– you will need at least 3 tubes (they are mixed red and green in the tube) or a normal bag.

DOVE 71% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bar: you will need probably about 3 bars of this!

DOVE PROMISES Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate: buy 2-3 bars of this.

Why so much chocolate? Because you might want to munch on some– and if you really like this recipe, you might find you want to make MORE!

Instructions:
Before you start actually playing with the chocolate, assemble the following tools.
Depending if you have children helping you, you might want to put some newspaper on the floor (to catch chocolate drips and crushed pretzels. Put some on counters too!

Assemble at least 2-3 cookie sheets and put parchment to fit on these cookie sheets.

Get out a dry goods measuring cup– I used a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup because everything was in quarters.

You will need a pot of boiling water;

a stainless steel or glass bowl to fit just inside the pot of boiling water to melt the chocolate

Recommended utensils: wooden spoon(s), old tweezers that are sterilzed and/or tongs.

and you will need a small bowl for the M&M Minis. Measure 3/4 cup of the minis and set aside for decoration!

(Kids will love this recipe– but they will also eat stuff too. So I recommend buying MORE of this than less
This recipe is supposed to make 14 different reindeer antlers. However with kids, friends and/or significant others around, shop accordingly.

Let’s start COOKING!!
Get the pot of water boiling!

Break up the bars of chocolate to make 1 3/4 cup of chocolate.
How to gauge that? I used 2 bars of the 71% cacao and 2 bars of the PROMISES chocolate. I had 3 of each so if I needed more, I would have more.

Using a glass bowl, I set inside the bowling water and turned off the heat. I waited about 3-4 minutes till I saw the chocolate was melting and I started stirring the chocolate with a wooden spoon till it was smooth and glossy. The melting process is fast! The water will remain hot because the bowl is sealing in the heat.

I already had my pretzels broken up and I tried both tongs and also plastic gloved hands to dip pretzels.I found that the plastic gloves didn’t work. The tongs were dripping chocolate all over the place.
Here’s what I recommend instead which is way easier. Swirl the back of the wooden (or any large) spoon and make sure you flip the spoon over so that the bowl of it has the chocolate.
Drop a couple of pieces into the bowl of the spoon which should have lots of liquid chocolate and use CLEAN hands to roll the pretzel sticks. Try chopsticks to pull them out or your fingers.

Set up your chocolate coated pretzel AKA antler parts into antler shapes. This is where you get to show some creativity. If you have friends and/or kids/teens there to help, let them do this!!

Set up the entire antler head so that you can start decorating as soon as you are finished. Make sure you start at the spot that got laid down first so because that chocolate will be set enough to hold the M&M Minis!
If you put it on the hotter pretzels, they will slide off. (Ask me how I know!)

Do not forget the red Mini M&Ms for the nose!! 2-3 worked best for me. But I was trying to keep minis from being eaten!

Do SAVE some red M&M Minis for the Reindeer Antler’s red noses. You might want to allocate MORE of those minis for that than you might think. One might be enough but if you have “helpers”, you will need more!

Here’s my best-looking antler:

This sort of candy-making isn’t my specialty but I think that had I had more “hands” (read helpers that were helping instead of eating pretzels and chocolate), this would have turned out a little bit better.
My helpers were too chocolate and crunch focused to get into the decorating except to eat them.

They set up nicely (firm chocolate) sitting on the cookie sheets and they vanished quite quickly once they had set. However if you have helpers who want immediate gratification, you might want to stick the cookie sheets into the refrigerator to get them to firm up fast.

Providing the antler’s haven’t vanished already, grab some red, white or green thin ribbon and tie a bow on one branch of the antler. Otherwise wrap in plastic wrap or hide in an aluminum tin. (REALLY!) These taste pretty yummy and the crunch and salty aspect of the pretzels are amazing contrasted with the chocolate.

While I am not a master chocolate candy maker– and it’s obvious my antlers look a little funky– it’s a great project for the holidays that *EVERYONE* can help with.

Click to sweeten the holidays with Silky Smooth Dove Chocolate.

“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Mars via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Mars.”

thanks to Glam Media, DOVE Chocolate and MARS for giving me this opportunity to play in “candy-land”

Stevie Wilson,
LA-Story.com

Author: Stevie Wilson

Digital and social media pioneer and visionary meets disruptive innovator with a passion for topics and conversations that reveal insight into the So. California lifestyle. LA-Story.com appeals to a global audience (from Asia to Africa; Middle East to Europe, No. America to Latin America) in variety of topics and sectors: style (beauty and fashion), health & fitness, entertainment (movies, TV, books, music and more) ; food, beverages & spirits; IT Security + tech , travel, special events (red carpet to green carpet) I am known for interviews ( podcasts , textual and video conversations) with notables, celebrities and companies about interesting products & brands; profiles about places that reflect the So. CA vision and special events (Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys & other events that illustrate celebrity , athletes and home-town "stars" lifestyle and initiatives.) that illuminate the insider's perspective of So. California's lifestyle . Learn what's hot in Los Angeles, NYC, MIami and stops closer to home that make this blog a must-read because the voice, attitude, authenticity and ability to grasp the essence of most sectors, brands & products make it easy for consumers to earn what makes a brand, initiative or product unique - whether, food, fashion or finance (or any other topic "on the table") With 15+ Years online launching websites, online magazines, forums, products & brands, my voice, authenticity and ability to grasp the essence of most sectors, brands & products make it easy for me to share what the online audience and consumers alike want to learn- how to shop, live and reflect the lifestyle they wish to emulate. Need to leverage digital and social media space? Reach out to me!

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