Tag Archives: pretzels

Sweet & Salty Easter Cookie Bars

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Could it be? Yes, friends, it is the inaugural Easter recipe of the season on Smart Cookie. It’s time we prepare for the Head Bunny’s big visit, and to do so, we need a festive treat like my Salty-Sweet Easter Cookie Bars.

These babies are a mile-thick, chewy, buttery, and rich. Imagine the perfect chocolate chip cookie, except ten times thicker and stuffed to the max with candy-coated pretzel eggs and spring-colored chocolate chips. That’s some seriously irresistible sweet and salty intensity. Continue reading

Ultimate Salty-Sweet Halloween Candy Cake Bars

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People like to blame trick-or-treating for the surplus of sugary sweets they find themselves with on the first of November, but that’s not the real problem; y’all are just trying to find someone else to put the blame on. Those darn neighbors and their free candy, right?

Wrong. You are the problem. You see the influx of assorted candy bags at the grocery store this time of year, and you just can’t resist having all your favorites (and that one inevitable kind you don’t like) in one place. Plus, everything is pumpkin-flavored or fall-themed, and how can you say no to that? It doesn’t help that you have potential trick-or-treaters to use as scapegoats. You’ll claim you’ve got to stock up so you’re ready for the big night, but let’s be honest: that candy ain’t going to make it to the 31st.

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Copycat Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Blizzards

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Sorry for hitting you so hard with the sweets this week. Actually, I’m not sorry at all because from the E.L. Fudge Ice Box Cake to the Sandy Buddies, and now to these Copycat Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Blizzards, everything has been absolutely delicious. And you know what they say: good things come in threes.

If you don’t know by now that I have an unparalleled and passionate love for Dairy Queen, then you clearly don’t know The Smart Cookie Cook. And if you don’t know that their Blizzards are my equivalent of crack, then get your head out of the sand (or should I say get your head out of the Sandy Buddies? Ha!).

For a while now, as DQ debuted tantalizing Blizzards of the Month that I couldn’t actually try because I don’t have a DQ near me, I have been whipping up my own homemade versions to enjoy like these Confetti Cake Blizzards and these Chocolate Candy Shop Blizzards. Not to toot my own horn here, but I’ve been giving DQ a run for its money with my copycat versions. I’d argue they’re just as good, if not better. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Fudge

Remember when I made delicious Pretzel-Topped Mac & Cheese using a 3/4-full bag of pretzels leftover from a previous recipe? Well folks, this is that recipe. I wanted to make a super simple fudge, and I was craving peanut butter. But you know me; plain old peanut butter fudge doesn’t cut it. So then, I thought of Monster Cookies and their delicious trio of PB, pretzels, and M&M’s. Immediately, I knew that was it: Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Fudge.

It’s a mouthful to say, so save your breath and stuff your pie hole with this fudge instead. It’s creamy, rich decadence with a trifecta of flavors coming together. The peanut butter and pretzels preform a salty tango while the chocolatey M&M’s sings a sultry, sweet tune for them to dance to. Everything works together in the most delicious way. Plus, you’re getting textural teamwork too: creamy fudge + the crispness of the pretzels + the crunch of the M & M’s exterior. Who knew you could have such complexity in a 6-ingredient, 5-minute fudge recipe?

Yes, those numbers are correct. We’re talking the simplest fudge recipe ever. You don’t need a candy thermometer; in fact, you don’t even need a stove. All you need is a microwave. Sounds impossible? I promise it’s not. You can have creamy, luscious fudge from your microwave in just a few minutes, and no one but you will ever know! Everyone else will think you’re Willy-freakin-Wonka.

Go make some of this fudge and show Mr. Wonka how it’s done.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. This would still be delicious in a standard chocolate fudge recipe.
  2. This fudge freezes great. Wrap in cling wrap then store in an air-tight container and freeze.
  3. Use dark chocolate M&M’s if you prefer.
  4. If you don’t push the M&M’s and pretzels down into the fudge good, they won’t adhere well. It’s not the end of the world, but they’ll be quite messy to eat.
  5. Don’t skip the parchment paper, or you will never get this fudge out of the pan!

Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Fudge
Adapted from Alton Brown’s Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup M&M’s
  • 16 crunchy pretzels twists

Directions:

  1. Butter an 8×8-inch pan and line with parchment paper or wax paper.
  2. Combine the butter and peanut butter in a 4-quart microwave-safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 1 minute on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes (Use caution when removing this mixture from the microwave, it will be very hot.) Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. The mixture will become hard to stir and lose its sheen. Spread into prepared pan. Immediately top with M&M’s and pretzels, pressing them into the fudge. You may swirl it in too if you like.
  3. Fold the excess parchment paper so it covers the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours. Cut into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Pretzel-Topped Mac & Cheese

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When you’re staring at a 3/4-full bag of pretzels in the pantry that needs to get eaten ASAP before it goes bad, you get creative. I had the pretzels from a previous recipe, but only used a handful out of the big bag. So I was left staring at the residual pretzels that weren’t far form going stale, wondering how to use them up. I could bake with them, sure. But then I began pondering if I could find a savory dish to make with them instead.

Instantly, I thought of a good cheesy mac & cheese with its crispy breadcrumb topping. How easily could those breadcrumbs be replaced with pretzels? Too easily, it seemed. Pretzel-Topped Mac & Cheese was just begging to be made. So made it I did.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my instincts were telling me that this would be a winning combination. The pretzels would be a perfect swap for boring breadcrumbs. I suppose people aren’t kidding around when they tell you to trust your instincts because mine were right on point. This mac was out of this world.

Pretzels are the perfect topping for mac & cheese. Their crispy-crunchy texture perfectly contrasts the tender pasta and creamy sauce. Plus, the pretzels lend their signature salty goodness, giving the mac another level of flavor. These guys are like long lost lovers. They were always meant to be together, a match made in heaven. Finally, the lovers have been united, and a delectable romance has been born.

I picked a nice sharp cheddar cheese and mild but distinct muenster. The combination is delicious, and a perfect pairing with the pretzels. The cheeses melt fantastically to yield a rich and creamy sauce. I made sure to use plenty of cheese in the sauce, even adding an extra sprinkle on top, so this mac ain’t lackin’ in cheesy flavor. Plus, the whole sauce gets another flavor boost from my secret mac & cheese ingredient: hot sauce. There’s only a touch, so it’s not overwhelming. It’s just a little kick for this comforting, creamy, gooey, cheesy dish.

Ready to make a break from bland breadcrumb-topped mac & cheese? Then try this pretzel twist instead.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Do your macs often come out dry? It’s probably because you overbaked.
  2. Make sure your pasta is al dente or it will be limp and soggy after you bake it.
  3. Use the best-quality cheese you can get. It makes a big difference. It’s also important to use freshly grated cheese because pre-shredded doesn’t melt as well.
  4. Worried about the hot sauce? Don’t be. I actually don’t even like hot sauce, but I love it in my mac & cheeses to give it that great flavor kick.
  5. You only need to lightly salt the sauce because the pretzels are very salty.

Pretzel Mac & Cheese
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. cavatappi or penne, preferably whole grain
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 a small yellow onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded muenster cheese
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

For Topping

  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup pretzel twists, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan oven medium heat. Add the onions and saute until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the flour, making sure it’s free of lumps. Let cook for a minute, continuing to whisk. Whisk in the milk. When it is free of lumps, cover and let simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Do not boil.
  4. Whisk in the salt, hot sauce, and 3/4 of the cheeses, reserving the remaining quarter for the topping. When sauce is smooth and cheese is melted, remove from heat and stir in pasta until well-coated. Pour into the casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and chopped pretzels. Sprinkle evenly over mac and cheese. Cover and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownie Parfaits

It’s a mouthful, I know.

Let me break this down for you.

Chocolate-covered pretzels + peanut butter mousse + brownie chunks = parfait paradise.

And while we’re at it, let’s top it with some fresh whipped cream, just because we can.

There are so many delicious aspects at work here that it’s almost too much for your taste buds to handle. Almost. It’s like that crazy insane party that was so mind-blowing you barely survived, but in the aftermath you’re just like, “…whoa.”

All the flavors come together in a way that equates to sweet and salty wonderment. Salty pretzels, meet sweet chocolate. Salty peanut butter, meet sweet brownies. Oh, preztels, have you met brownies? Chocolate, have you met peanut butter? The flavors are mingling like socialites at a cocktail party, and everybody is friends tonight.

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