Layers of fudgey brownie, soft caramel and silky chocolate ganache fill a salty brown sugar pretzel crust in this Caramel Brownie Pretzel Pie. It’s the perfect amount of sweet with a touch of salty.
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Simple pretzel crust
To make the pretzel crust, process 3 cups of miniature pretzels until crushed and fine. It’s ok for some smaller chunks to remain, but larger chunks will not press into the pan nicely.
Melt the butter, then add the sugar and butter to the crushed pretzels and mix with a fork until everything is moistened. Press the pretzels into a pie dish or tart pan. I find that using the bottom of a dry measuring cup is the most helpful way to make it super compact.
Bake the crust for 8 minutes at 350 F and then move it to a wire rack to cool.
How to make the brownie layer
This is a quick and very small brownie batch! Only a bowl and wooden spoon required 😉
Start by melting the butter and chocolate chips together in the microwave. Do this in 20 second increments and stir in between each until melted and smooth. Add the cocoa powder in and stir to combine.
Next, add the sugar, whisked egg and vanilla. Finally, fold in the flour until it’s just combined. The batter will look fudgey and viscous — pour it into the pretzel crust and gently help it along with your spoon to completely fill the crust.
Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 F. The middle may still look slightly underdone when you take it out, but the edges should look set. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
The easiest caramel
Caramel can seem like a daunting task to many. I’m here to tell you that you can and absolutely should make this version because it is the most simple method! AND you don’t even need a kitchen thermometer, which is a bonus. Pour the finished caramel over the brownie layer once the caramel has cooled down a bit and has thickened slightly. Place the tart in the fridge to cool completely before adding the ganache layer.
- Use medium or medium-low heat. This will be different on every stove. When I used to cook on an electric stove, I used medium low heat. On my gas stove, I have to use medium heat.
- Stir every 30 seconds or so until the sugar has melted and turns amber in color. It will start to get wet, will clump up and crystallize, then will begin to melt and change to an amber color.
- If at any point the caramel becomes dark brown in color and smells acrid, you’ve burnt your caramel. Pitch it and start again (and try a lower heat).
- Before adding the butter and cream, the sugar will look rather dark (see picture 5) but will lighten back up once added.
- Keep a bowl of ice water nearby just in case you accidentally burn yourself. An oven mitt is also recommended if hot steam could bother your hands while stirring.
Making the silky chocolate ganache
Ganache is just a fancy way of saying chocolate and cream — it’s SO simple, yet one of the most luxurious things you can make (and eat, in my opinion).
Heat up the heavy cream until it’s just simmering and pour over top of the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for one minute and then stir constantly from the center with a spoon or whisk until it comes together.
Pour it on top of the cooled tart and gently spread it to the edges.
Lastly, PLEASE add the flaky salt to the top of the ganache. It really is a crucial ingredient to the overall flavors and intended taste.
In case you need more convincing to make this Caramel Brownie Pretzel Pie, Adam said this is VERY high up on his favorites list. I mean, just look at those layers!! You definitely can’t go wrong with this one.
If you’re looking for other pie or tart recipes, check out:
Caramel Brownie Pretzel Pie
- 9-inch pie dish or 9-inch tart pan
- Food processor (or gallon bag and rolling pin)
- 1 ¼ cups ground mini pretzels (150g) or ~3 cups whole mini pretzels
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted (113g)
- ⅛ cup light brown sugar (25g)
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (1.5 oz)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted (57g)
- 3 T cocoa powder (9g)
- ⅓ cup + 2T granulated sugar (92g)
- 1 egg whisked
- ½ tsp vanilla paste or extract
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (30g)
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 6 T unsalted butter room temperature (85g)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream (119g)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (4oz)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream (119g)
- Flaky salt for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Grind up the pretzels in a food processor until fine. Alternatively, add the pretzels to a gallon ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin or can. A few small chunks can remain, but you want it to be mostly ground so it presses into the dish best. Transfer the ground pretzels to a bowl and add in the butter and brown sugar. Mix with a fork until combined and resembles wet sand.
- Press the mixture into the base and sides of a 9-inch tart pan or pie dish using the bottom of a measuring cup.
- Bake the crust for 8 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
- Add the chocolate chips and butter to a bowl and heat in the microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until melted.
- Add the cocoa powder to the butter and chocolate and mix. Then add the sugar, whisked egg, and vanilla and mix. Fold in the flour and salt until just combined. Pour the brownie batter over the cooled pretzel crust and gently help it along to meet the edges of the crust.
- Bake at 350 F for about 15-18 minutes. It will look underdone and fudgy in the middle, but the edges will look set.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- While the pie is cooling, make the caramel. Add the sugar to a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat and stir about every 30 seconds until melted and turning amber. It will start to get wet, will then clump up and crystallize, then will begin to melt and change to an amber color.
- Add the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring to combine before adding the next tablespoon. Next, add the heavy cream and salt and continue mixing. The caramel will bubble up at this point, but don’t be alarmed. Once combined, turn off the heat and carefully pour into a heat proof bowl to cool slightly.
- Once the caramel has started to cool and get a bit thicker, pour the caramel over the brownie layer, then transfer the pie to the fridge to cool completely. About 1 hour.
- Add the chocolate chips to a heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream over medium heat until just under a simmer. Add the hot cream to the chocolate and allow it to sit for 1 minute. Using a spatula or spoon, continuously stir from the center until the mixture is combined. Pour over the cooled caramel layer and gently spread to reach all parts of the crust.
- Sprinkle the top with flaky finishing salt. I don't suggest skipping this ingredient, as it is crucial to the overall taste and flavors intended.