Pretzel rods (2 packages makes about 60 with almost no leftover caramel)
Milk Chocolate Chips (I used about 3 – 11.5oz bags of Nestle Toll House Chips)
Seasonal Sprinkles if desired
1c. Karo syrup
1c. Brown sugar
1c. White sugar
1 stick of butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk (it was the typical smaller can – probably about 5oz)
To make a batch of caramel, put 5 caramel ingredients in a large sauce pan over medium heat and stir until melted and combined. Turn up the heat a little to bring to a boil for five minutes stirring constantly. Be careful to keep stirring so that it doesn’t start to burn on the bottom of the pan. Take caramel off the burner after 5 minutes. Many recipes said overcooking caramel makes it hard so I used a timer so I didn’t go over.
Put the hot caramel in a deep container. I used a really tall mug that was almost as tall as the caramels. Someone else recommended using a Pyrex 4 cup measuring cup.
Prepare a couple cookie sheets lined with foil and sprayed with Pam. I first used wax paper as recommended in the recipe, but the caramel stuck to it badly.** I was able to remove it with patience and work, but transferred to a lightly greased foil and it worked MUCH better.
Dip pretzel rod in caramel, about 3/4 of the way and let it drip off any excess caramel. Then lay the rod on the cookie sheet. I found that running it in a twisting motion up the side of the mug worked well to get some of the extra caramel off without getting me too sticky and was faster than watching each one drip!
Put cookie sheets in the fridge to help set up caramel. Once caramel is set, lift up each pretzel rod off the foil and mold caramel around the rod since it will puddle on the sides as it cools.
Melt chocolate in a deep container (I used my tall mug again). I melted the chocolate in the microwave in 30 sec increments. I melted then stirred and melted again. My big mug took about 1-1 ½ minutes to melt two bags which filled my cup almost to the top. Once your chocolate is melted, dip the caramel covered pretzel rods. If you are going to sprinkle them or roll them in toppings, do it before the chocolate sets.
Place chocolate covered pretzel rods back on cookie sheets and place in fridge to set up.
**If you make the mistake of using wax paper and they get stuck, here is the magic remedy. Put a cookie sheet in the oven at 175 degrees for about 10 minutes until it is nice and warm. Put the piece of wax foil with the stuck caramel on the hot pan. Let it sit for about a minute and then start slowly pulling up the rods, twisting slightly to the side as you lift. If you lift straight up, the pretzels break, but pulling to the side was more successful. If too many break as you lift them, the pan is too cold. Put it back in the oven without the wax paper to warm up for a few more minutes. Then put the wax paper on it again and keep going. As you pull off the caramel pretzels, you will need to smooth them a little but at least you won’t have wax paper stuck to their bottoms!