Pretzels are always on hand in our house. Baked instead of fried, with slightly less sodium than potato chips, they’re a great snack treat that don’t make you feel guilty, and don’t make you feel cheated either.
Thinking outside of the bag, aside from being delicious, pretzels can also add a great element of crunch to your baking. They’re hearty enough to stand up to moisture, making them a surprising no-bake pie crust. Be they whole, chopped or ground, their saltiness contrasts beautifully with sweet desserts, from s’mores pretzel pops to chocolate pretzel toffee.
Here are five fun ways to enjoy pretzels:
Chocolate Pretzel Toffee
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely chopped salted pretzels
1 cup finely chopped chocolate
LINE a baking sheet with parchment paper.
MELT butter with sugar and maple syrup in a medium pot fitted with a candy thermometer, over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until butter is melted, then do not stir. Boil until temperature reaches 295F.
REMOVE from heat and immediately stir in baking soda and vanilla (be careful — the mixture may bubble up). Working quickly, stir in pretzels until combined then turn out onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread mixture to about 1/4 inch thickness.
SPRINKLE chopped chocolate over toffee and let sit until chocolate has melted, about 2 min. Gently spread chocolate until smooth.
Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Crack into pieces.
S’more Pretzel Pop
12 pretzel sticks
12 large marshmallows
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup ground pretzel sticks
INSERT a pretzel stick into each marshmallow, forming the stick. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
DIP the bottom third of each marshmallow into melted chocolate, then roll in ground pretzels.
RETURN to refrigerator and chill until chocolate has set, about 30 min. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
No-Bake Pretzel Crust
Substitute this no-bake crust into any recipe that calls for a graham cracker or cookie crust. The salty edge of the pretzels is delicious.
2 cups pretzels
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
WHIRL pretzels with brown sugar in a food processor until ground. Whirl in melted butter.
PRESS into the bottom of a pie plate or tart pan. Refrigerate until firm before filling, about 30 minutes.
(This recipe makes 11/2 cups, enough for 12 mini tarts or one 9-inch pie crust.)
Spiced Pretzel Snacks
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
5 cups mini pretzels
1 cup pecan halves
PREHEAT oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
STIR melted butter with sugar, paprika, coriander, cumin and cayenne in a large bowl until combined.
ADD pretzels and pecans and toss until coated, rubbing the spice mixture onto the pretzels.
BAKE for 15 to 20 min, or until dark golden.
REMOVE from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Toss pretzels and nuts to break up any clumps.
Chocolate-Raspberry Pretzel Bites
Not everything has to be complicated to be tasty. These are an amazing balance of salt, sweet and tang.
12 waffle pretzels
1/4 cup nutella
SPREAD 1 tsp nutella on each of 12 waffle pretzels. Top with a raspberry.