In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, butter, water and vanilla.
Stir in flour and salt, just until blended. Do not overmix.
Using a small scoop or spoon, shape dough into 24 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Insert two pretzel sticks into ball of dough.
Press dough with tines of a fork so the edge resembles the “bristles” of a broom.
Bake 11-13 minutes or until brown but not set. Let cool on pan for one minute.
Remove cookies from baking sheet to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Melting the Chocolate Almond Bark
Heat shortening and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for one minute on high. Stir. If needed, heat again for 30 seconds until chocolate is melted thoroughly.
To Finish the Witches Broom Cookies
Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper (or I like to use a reusable silicone mat) and move cooling rack to baking sheet so that it will "catch" the extra chocolate drizzle.
Drizzle melted chocolate at the end of where “broom” attaches to pretzel “handle”. I like to drizzle a little extra onto the pretzels too.
Let stand until chocolate is set, about 15 minutes.
Ingredient TipsPretzels - This recipe originally called for the thicker pretzel rods but I substituted two thin pretzel sticks instead as I felt that the pretzel rods were just way too large for the broom cookie ratio.Chocolate Almond Bark - This can be found in the baking section of the grocery store. I usually find it on one of the upper shelves near the packages of chocolate chips.I prefer it to chocolate chips because it melts and drizzles easily on the cookies. You can also use chocolate chips but you’ll want to add some sort of shortening or oil to the chips so that it is extra melty. Use no more than 1 tablespoon of oil (vegetable oil is a good choice) for every 12 ounces of chocolate chips.Make Ahead TipsThe cookie dough can be made up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Before assembly and baking, let the dough sit out on the kitchen counter and allow it to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.Freezing These CookiesThese cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. Use wax paper to separate the layers so they don't stick together.