In today’s post: Learn how easy it is to make this delicious Christmas candy in your crockpot. It’s chocolate covered peanuts plus caramel bits plus pretzel pieces – delish! Perfect for holiday gifting.
Maybe you’ve seen crockpot candy before: it’s an easy way to make chocolate covered peanut clusters right in your slow cooker. Simple and delicious, and perfect for the holiday season! Well, I decided to add a couple ingredients to take the delicious factor to the next level. So today’s recipe is for Caramel/Pretzel/Peanut Crockpot Candy. If you think traditional crockpot candy is good, this version is next level!
Easy Crockpot Candy
This crockpot candy recipe makes 50 individual candies that will stay good for weeks in an airtight container. This makes crockpot candy perfect for Christmas and holiday gifting! If I’m planning to give the candy away as gifts, I like to drop it into cute little paper cups, like these mini cupcake liners. It makes the candy look extra special on a plate or in a candy tin, and ensures pieces won’t stick together even if they get a little warm.
This candy is made with just six ingredients:
- Dark Chocolate Chips: Definitely use dark chocolate chips here, not semi-sweet chocolate chips, to give the candy extra richness.
- White Chocolate Chips: White chips (which aren’t actually chocolate) make the mixture easier to work with – see the box below the photo for more info. You could also use white almond bark or candy coating.
- Peanut Butter: A little peanut butter gets mixed in with the chocolate for even more richness.
- Peanuts: Classic! You can use other nuts if you’d like (cashews, walnuts, pecans, or almonds should all work), but I prefer salted peanuts here.
- Caramel Bits: Gives the candy a really nice chewy texture.
- Pretzels: Adds lightness, crunch, and extra salty flavor.
Why Not Use Milk Chocolate?
In this candy, the white and dark chocolate chips melt together and end up tasting like milk chocolate. So why not simply use milk chocolate? Well, the reason is that chocolate is pretty temperamental. If you get it too hot, it loses it’s temper (that’s what it’s called!) and won’t set up nice and hard. If melted chocolate gets too cold, it ends up with greyish streaks.
But using a mixture of dark chocolate and white chocolate helps you avoid both those problems! It means you can easily melt the chocolate in your crockpot without worrying about the exact temperature and allows you to put the candy in the fridge to set up. Basically, this combination of chips makes this candy super easy to make!
How to Make Crockpot Christmas Candy
This candy takes about 30 minutes to make in your crockpot, and another 15 minutes or so to scoop out on parchment paper or into mini muffin liners. After that, you’ll want to plan on one hour in the fridge for the chocolate to set up. Once it’s set, you can serve immediately. I recommend waiting 24 hours before packaging the candy to ensure it is completely set up. Store at room temperature.
Melt the Chocolate
Begin by placing the dark chocolate chips, white chips, and peanuts in your crockpot. Please note that you won’t be putting the other three ingredients in yet!
Place a kitchen towel over the crockpot and then place on the crockpot lid. The kitchen towel will absorb any condensation and make sure it doesn’t drop onto the chocolate, which could ruin the candy.
Turn the crockpot on low and set a timer for 30 minutes. The time it takes the chocolate to melt will vary a little depending on your crockpot, but chocolate will burn if it gets too hot, so be sure to check the chocolate at 30 minutes. When you take off the lid, if the chocolate looks very shiny like the photo below, it’s done! Chocolate chips are made to retain their shape so they may not look melted, but when you start stirring you’ll see that they are. Use a spatula and stir well. If there are still quite a few chunks of unmelted chocolate, replace the towel and lid and continue to cook, checking every 15 minutes.
Add the Other Ingredients
While the chocolate is melting, you’ll want to break your pretzels into pieces. Smaller pieces help the finished candies look tidier. I used pretzel sticks and broke them each into 4-5 pieces. I tried chopping them with a knife and they projectiled all over the kitchen, so I just broke them by hand, a handful at a time.
Once the chocolate is melted and stirs smooth, turn the crockpot off (or to the keep warm setting). Stir in the peanut butter. Then dump in the caramel bits and pretzel pieces. Stir until everything is well coated in chocolate.
Scoop Out Candy
Now it’s time to scoop out the candy. The nice thing about using a crockpot is that it will keep the chocolate warm and melted, so you don’t have to rush this step. I find it’s easiest to use a cookie dough scoop to portion out the candy. I use a medium cookie scoop, which holds about 1.5 tablespoons, but if you don’t have a scoop you can a spoon to drop the candy. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and scoop away. For the best looking clusters, drop the candy slowly.
Alternately, you can portion out the candy into mini cupcake liners. I think this makes them look a little fancier and tidier. The chocolate will begin to set up quickly, so if you’d like to add sprinkles make sure you stop every 8 candies or so to do that. Or, if you love extra salty treats, sprinkle on some coarse sea salt!
Let Candy Set up
After you’ve portioned out the candy, immediately place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator for one hour. This helps the chocolate harden much faster than it will at room temperature. After an hour remove the trays from the fridge and keep candy at room temperature. I recommend waiting 24 hours to package candy for best results (if it’s not in the mini liners) because the chocolate will be even harder the next day.
- 12 oz Dark Chocolate Chips see note
- 12 oz White Chocolate Chips
- 1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 16 oz Salted Roasted Peanuts
- 3/4 cup Caramel Bits half of an 11 oz package
- 3/4 cup Pretzels broken into small pieces before measuring
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- Place dark chocolate chips, white chips, and peanuts in a crockpot. Cover with a kitchen towel and the crockpot lid.
- Cook on low temperature for 30 minutes, then stir thoroughly. If chocolate is not completely melted, cover again with the towel and lid and check in 15 minutes.
- White the chocolate is melting, break pretzels into small pieces.
- Once chocolate is melted, turn crockpot off (or turn to keep warm). Stir in the peanut butter. Then stir in the caramel bits and pretzel pieces.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or mini cupcake liners. Use a medium cookie dough scoop to portion out candy. You'll need 2 cookie sheets.
- Place cookie sheets with candy in the fridge for 1 hour to set up. Then keep at room temperature until serving. I recommend waiting 24 hours to package candy if you did not use the liners.
- Candy should be stored at room temperature. It can go a few days uncovered. For longer storage, place in an airtight container.