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Sweet and Salty Pretzel Brownies

Fudgy brownies atop a crunchy pretzel crust and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. These brownies are salty and sweet and gooey and completely decadent.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Brownies
Servings: 12 brownies
Cost: $5.76 per recipe / $0.48 per serving

Ingredients

Pretzel Crust

  • 4 cups salted pretzels
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar

Brownies

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
  • cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Finishing Touches

  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top of the brownies

Instructions

  • Getting Ready: Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9x13 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.

Notes

  • 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.