Salted caramel pretzel brownies – crunchy pretzel crust topped with rich, fudgey dark chocolate brownie and a sticky, gooey, sweet-salty caramel. Jump to Recipe
Just booked a Gelato Messina appreciation class!! They are normally only held in Sydney, but have just opened up one class per month in Fitzroy (Melbourne) for the rest of this year. Clearly I jumped at the opportunity – two hours of learning to make gelato, having a gelato degustation, getting to try as many flavours as you want out of the cabinet (up to 40!) and taking your own tub of gelato home – there was no way I was passing it up. Gelato Messina is legendary here, having been voted best gelato in Australia by the Good Food Guide, and for good reason: as well as the 40 permanent flavours (salted caramel and white chocolate, chocolate fondant, pandan and coconut, pear and rhubarb..), they also offer 5 weekly special flavours – crazy combinations that constantly bring people back for more. Some of my favourite specials have been the Crack Pie and Cereal Milk (based on Christina Tosi’s infamous Momofuku Milk Bar creations) and the Robert Brownie Jnr (chocolate gelato with chocolate brownie and chocolate fudge), but other recent flavours have included Copper’s Delight (peanut butter and coffee gelato layered with coffee caramel and doughnuts) and LMP (lemon custard gelato with shortcrust, baked meringue and lemon curd). You get the picture.
Also: only two more days of university left for the semester! Cannot believe it. This year is absolutely flying by – I did my first blog post here on January 20th, and now almost four months have passed. I do feel like writing has become easier: both my reviews and recipe posts take less time and the words seem to come a little more naturally than they initially did. And I love it – blogging provides such a different, and more creative, outlet than university work, and gives me a chance to get a bit of perspective and get my brain out of science and study mode, even if just for a short time. However, without a kitchen at college, all this inspiration and motivation to try recipes I have seen on other blogs or attempt flavour combinations I have experienced at cafes is being built up higher and higher – I definitely need to get home soon for the break and spend some serious time baking.
However, I did get to make something pretty amazing (if I do say so myself!) last week, which I couldn’t wait any longer to share with you. I commandeered a friend’s kitchen to make these Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies for Cathy’s birthday – we had been eyeing up a few similar recipes during lectures (oops) and her upcoming birthday presented the perfect opportunity to surprise her with them. Without a 20x30cm tin available, I ended up using a 20×20 tin (probably better considering how rich they are!), and adapted a few different recipes – so was a little apprehensive about the result.
They turned out to be an absolute winner. The crunchy, salty pretzel crust blended with the brownie – rich, fudgey, dark chocolate – and the sticky, gooey, sweet-salty combo of the caramel topping to create the perfect mouthful of omg-just-one-more. Yes, the runny caramel can make a bit of a mess, and leave you with sticky fingers, and yes, it can be a little tricky to cut – but it is SO worth it. Keep it in the fridge so the caramel doesn’t melt absolutely everywhere, and pull it 10 or 20 minutes before serving to get it back to that perfect state of melty gooey crunchiness. YES.
- 1 cup crumbed pretzels (this is easiest done in a food processor, but you could also crush them in a bag with a rolling pin or something!)
- 75 g butter , melted
- 1 tbsp brown sugar , packed
- 160 g unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup sugar (200g)
- 85 g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup cream (120ml)
- 1/2 -1 tsp table salt (according to your tastes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a 20 x 20 cm tin with baking paper.
Mix together the crumbed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Tip into the lined tin and spread out in an even layer, packing it down firmly.
Bake for 7-8 minutes, then remove to cool while you finish making the brownie.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. Place the butter, salt, sugar and cocoa in a medium sized pot. Cook over a low heat until the butter is melted and it is completely combined. Do not let boil (if you do or it gets very hot, cool the mixture down in the fridge/freezer for 5 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients).
Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously until the batter looks shiny and well blended. Stir in the vanilla essence.
Stir in the flour and baking powder until fully blended, and then mix vigorously for 30 seconds (about 40 strokes)
Spread the batter evenly over the crust in the tin. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out slightly moist with batter. (a few crumbs is okay).
Remove to let cool.
To make the caramel, first measure out all the components so you are ready to go (it happens quickly!).
Heat the sugar in a medium pot over medium-high heat, stirrng constantly with a wooden spoon. It will form clumps and start to melt into an amber liquid - watch carefully, ensuring it doesn’t catch/burn.
When it is melted and golden-brown, add the butter and whisk until combined (this may take a couple of minutes). Be careful as the caramel will bubble and steam vigorously.
Drizzle in the cream slowly, again whisking constantly until fully combined (1-2 minutes). Remove from the heat.
Stir in the vanilla and salt to taste. Leave to cool.
Pour about 3/4 - 1 cup of the caramel over the brownie, spreading out to make an even layer. Refrigerate for 2-4 hrs, until set, then sprinkle with freshly ground sea salt.
Cut with a large sharp knife, heated under hot running water.
Keep refrigerated, but allow to soften a little at room temperature before serving.