Sweet and Salty Pretzel Brownies! Fudgy brownies atop a crunchy pretzel crust and sprinkled with sea salt for the ultimate salty/sweet dessert.
Hey there! It’s been a while! How are you doing?
Things are weird these days. It’s been two whole weeks since I’ve posted a recipe, which to be honest happened sort of accidentally. The longer the shelter-in-place order drags on, the more I seem to lose motivation to do…well…anything. I made this brownie recipe over a week ago, told myself every day I was going to post it, and then every day for ten days I failed to post it.
Is anyone else feeling this way? Like the days are way too long and yet it’s impossible to get anything done in them? Like time no longer carries any sense of urgency?
When schools first closed, I saw it as an opportunity to build this dream of mine–this very blog that you are reading right now!–during the extra time at home. Back then, I thought we would stay closed for a couple weeks and then reopen, so I was really motivated to do as much as I possibly could before going back to work. Now it’s been almost two months, I’m officially teaching online for the rest of the school year, there’s a half-empty mug of tea on my desk in my classroom that’s haunting me because I have no idea when I’ll be back to clean it out, and time just crawls along meaninglessly into this strange abyss. I’ve never been a procrastinator, yet I now can’t seem to get myself to sit down and write a dang blog post.
This is all to say that I’m sorry for leaving you hanging for so long. And if you’re also feeling weird lately, know that you’re not alone and that you’re doing a great job.
Sweet and Salty Pretzel Brownies
On a happier note, brownies! More specifically, Sweet and Salty Pretzel Brownies. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth but I do have a sizable salty tooth, and I love salty/sweet combos. I’ve been trying different ways to marry brownies and pretzels for weeks now (thank you to my husband, Colin, for eating all the iterations).
At first, I tried topping brownies with whole pretzels and a layer of caramel. But the pretzels got stale too fast, and caramel is high maintenance to make. Finally, I thought to make a pretzel crust below the brownie, kind of like in that strawberry pretzel dessert your aunt always brings to potlucks. This was a game changer! The salty, crunchy crust complements the gooey brownie perfectly, and the brownie keeps the pretzels fresh.
I do not normally eat a lot of dessert. But people, I kid you not when I say that I could not stop eating this brownies.
Stay well and stay sane, folks!
Sweet and Salty Pretzel Brownies
- 4 cups salted pretzels
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1½ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top of the brownies
- Getting Ready: Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pretzel Crust: Mash pretzels into coarse crumbs. You can do this by putting the pretzels in a ziplock bag and crushing them with a rolling pin, using a mortar and pestle, or pulsing in the food processor.
- Pretzel Crust: Mix together pretzels, melted butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Firmly press the pretzel mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Set aside.
- Brownies: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Brownies: In a large mixing bowl, stir melted butter and sugar until well incorporated. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Then fold in the dry ingredients.
- Brownies: Evenly distribute spoonfuls of brownie batter on top of the pretzel mixture in the baking pan, and then carefully spread the batter until the pretzels are covered.
- Brownies: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. At 25 minutes, the brownies should be not quite done and still a little gooey in the middle (this is the way I like them). At 30 minutes, they should be mostly cooked through.
- Finishing Touches: Sprinkle sea salt on top of the brownies right after they come out of the oven.
- What kind of pretzels should I use? I would recommend standard twisted pretzels or pretzel sticks, since they are easy to crush and have a good salt-to-pretzel ratio. But I imagine that sourdough pretzels, pretzel rods, or those honey braided twists would work just fine. Just stay away from unsalted pretzels, because that would defeat the salty/sweet purpose for using pretzels and what would be the point of that?
- How finely should I crush the pretzels? Think coarser than crumbs but finer than pieces. If you’re unsure, err on the fine side, because big pieces of pretzel won’t hold together as well and will fall off the bottom of the brownie when you pick it up. In the photo above, my pretzel pieces are actually a tad too big.