I need to admit right away that marshmallows aren’t my thing. I think it’s a texture issue. It’s not because of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at all. That was actually quite classic and funny. God I love the Ghostbusters. But I digress. Marshmallows are much more my kidlet’s thing, so I really wanted to try them for her. But I was also curious about the pretzels-in-my-baked-goods aspect.
Speaking of kidlet, hello, bet this would be a popular choice with many kidlets. Mine is an absolute marshmallow fiend. They’d be a prominent section of her food triangle if I allowed it. As is, we have to hide them when they make their way into the house lest she beg for them constantly. Please note that I don’t buy them, her loving, doting grandparents do. Ahem.
Honestly, after making these, it felt like a lot of steps. In retrospect, it’s nothing hard, though. Still after all that, I kind of am surprised the recipe yields what little it does. Do you know what I mean? Then again, maybe I’m just greedy.
Here we’ve melted some butter and sugar together. Not for long, we’re not making caramel or anything like.
We realized after finishing the bars that you’re essentially making a variation on a blondie with this recipe. So blondie lovers, this post’s for you. Everyone grab a blondie. Cheers!
Here the butter/sugar mixture has cooled a little and eggs, vanilla and a flour mixture, which has finely ground pretzels in it, are all stirred in.
And here we have what I am beginning to affectionately think of as the Food Tongue Shot. It looks like a tongue rolling into the pan. Yes, I am silly.
When they put Pretzel in the title, they meant it. More pretzels are scattered on top before baking.
After baking the blondie portion, it’s time to get our gooey marshmallow on. This is how I prefer a marshmallow if there must be any at all. It’s a snap to put it back in the oven under your broiler to get toasty warm marshmallows.
Finishing touches: a generous drizzle of melted chocolate and peanut butter chips! I had to go to a couple of stores before I found the peanut butter chips. For some reason I thought the two kinds of chips went into the batter. When I realized they were just for drizzling I knew that the peanut butter ones, if we make this again, aren’t exactly necessary. You know, should the store be out again. Butterscotch or caramel chips would be great, too. Wait, do they make caramel chips?
(quick Google search) The answer is yes. Yay and woohoo and all that. So just substitute if you can’t find the exact chips called for.
I like a good blondie just about as much as I do a decadent brownie. Pro tip (or common baking sense): if when you insert the toothpick it’s still just slightly moist, don’t put the dessert back in and bake a few minutes more. I did so and thought the blondie portion was a little bit dry afterward. I sort of deserve to be taken out by lightening for not remembering that brownies comes out better when just slightly undercooked. Duh. on. me.
Bake these for your kids for a special treat – they’ll love you more than they already do. Give them to friends and coworkers. Mine were eternally grateful! We cooks like it that way, right?
Salted Pretzel-Marshmallow Bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 25-30 minutes Level: Easy Makes: 16 bars
For the bars:
Cooking spray, for the pan
1 1/2 cups broken pretzel pieces
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping:
8 marshmallows, halved crosswise
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.
Pulse 1 cup pretzel pieces in a food processor until finely ground (you should have about 1/2 cup crumbs). Transfer to a bowl. Whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the brown sugar. Let cool slightly, then stir in the eggs and vanilla. Stir the pretzel crumb mixture into the butter mixture in two additions.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup pretzel pieces on top. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack, then lift the foil to remove the bars from the pan and transfer to a baking sheet.
Preheat the broiler. Press the marshmallow halves, cut-side down, in even rows on top of the bars. Broil, rotating the baking sheet as needed, until the marshmallows are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes; let cool.
Put the peanut butter chips and 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until melted and smooth. Repeat with the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in another bowl. Drizzle the melted peanut butter and chocolate mixtures over the bars. Let harden at room temperature or chill to set before cutting.
The most important thing really is to remember to let the dessert come out of the oven when your inserted toothpick pulls out just slightly moistened. Your blondie portion will be more moist this way once cooled.
Substitute the chips if you need to. Use dark chocolate if you prefer or milk or whichever kind floats your boat. To get the contrast, if you can’t find peanut butter chips, use caramel or butterscotch. Either would be fine, or just go for chocolate, too.
Of you don’t have one of those small one or three cup food prep machines (I would not advise hauling our your heavy food processor as instructed above, not worth it for such a small amount of pretzels), just go the old fashioned route and use a rolling pin on plastic food storage bagged pretzels and keep rolling until very finely ground. A few lumps/larger pieces are OK.