Do you remember when pretzel m&ms came out? They were comically marketed as the perfect solution to crazy pregnancy cravings: sweet and salty all in one bite!
As if sweet and salty isn’t something I love every day of the year. The flavor combination has become much more mainstream in recent years. And as for me, my palate has become more developed (thank you, food blogging), which means I now sometimes actually find desserts too sweet, and find myself wishing for some spice, some salt, some crunch for balance.
Light bulb! Pretzels brownies.
I really recommend that you pulverize your pretzels in the food processor until they are completely fine. I went with a larger grain, a crumbier look for the photos, which is achievable in 30 seconds with a rolling pin…but the crust fell apart, dropping little buttery pretzel pieces all over.
Mix your pretzels with melted butter. Use salted butter. Because salt!
Meanwhile, whip up a batch of Baker’s One-Bowl Brownies!
You could use your favorite fudgy brownie mix, too, I suppose. But the Baker’s brownies are so simple to make! You can get the batter done in about 5 minutes, and they are always perfect. Always. Perfect.
Let the brownies cool on the counter for a bit. Meanwhile, make a sweet chocolate glaze! Combine butter (again, salted), cream, chocolate chips, and espresso powder in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in short increments, stirring in between, until a shiny smooth chocolate sauce forms.
Top the brownies with neat rows of pretzels. I aimed for the approximate center of each brownie, eyeballing it so that each brownie would end up with one pretzel on it. This just seemed easier for cutting purposes than smushing them close together would have been. (You can also wait until after you cut to garnish the brownies, but they may not stick down very well once the glaze has set.)
Let the brownies cool completely before cutting! If you cut too early, the glaze will not be set and will drop down the sides of the cut brownies. Actually, that isn’t such a horrible problem…just messy.
Double Pretzel Brownies
loosely based on Taste of Home
3 cups mini pretzels, crushed, plus extra for garnish
¾ cup salted butter, divided
4 oz. unsweetened Baker’s (or other) chocolate
12 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup pretzel m&ms, roughly chopped
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. espresso powder
Preheat oven to 400°.
Crush the mini pretzels with a rolling pin (there should be about 2 cups crushed pretzels, with some larger pieces). Melt ½ cup butter and combine with the pretzels.
Press the pretzel mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9ʺx13ʺ pan. Bake for 8 minutes.
While the pretzel crust bakes, prepare the brownie batter. Break the unsweetened chocolate into small pieces and cube the butter. Combine in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until butter is completely melted.
Stir in the sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.
Stir in the flour and salt. Do not overbeat the batter or the brownies will become tough and chewy.
Fold in the chopped candy.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
Spoon the brownie mixture over the pretzel crust, scooping it out of the bowl and into the edges of the brownie pan. Gently spread the brownie batter over the pretzel crust. The pretzels may move a bit, so use a light touch.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Let the brownies cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, the remaining ¼ cup butter, heavy cream, and espresso powder. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and microwave another 30 seconds. Stir until smooth and glossy.
Pour the chocolate over the cooling brownies, using a spoon to spread it all the way to the edges.
Chill the brownies in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or until the bottom of the pan is cool and the chocolate is set.
Run a knife around the outer edge of the pan to release the brownies. Cut in the pan with a very sharp knife. Garnish each brownie with an additional mini pretzel.