My mom loves chocolate. And pretzels. This is for you Kar Bear xoxo
Duhn duhn duhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnn!
Pretzel crusts+chocolate cake+caramel/ganache filling+ganache dipping+pretzel caramel topping= I ate a dozen of these in like 3 days.
I was inspired by the cupcakeproject‘s chocolate pretzel cupcakes but I decided that homemade caramel sauce would just magnify these flavors by a million. Here is my recipe:
Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes
(makes 2 dozen cupcakes)
for the crust: from the cupcakeproject
- 3/4 c butter at room temp
- 3 T brown sugar
- 2 1/2 c crushed pretzels–makes sure they’re really crushed–no chunks!
for the cake:
- 1 1/2 stick butter at room temp
- 1 1/2 c + 6 T granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 c + 6 T flour
- 3/4 t baking powder
- 3/8 t baking soda
- 3/8 t salt
- 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 c milk
- 1 1/2 t vanilla–Mexican vanilla is the best vanilla on planet earth.
for the ganache: check out my earlier eclair post for this recipe!
for the caramel sauce: you can do it!
- 3 c granulated sugar
- 2 c water
- 2 vanilla beans–scraped but keep them. (if you don’t have this it’s ok–you’re caramel will still be awesome)
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- 1 1/2 lbs butter–softer makes your life easier
- you will also need a candy thermometer
*you also need pretzels!* whatever kind you want. Keep some whole and crush some.
Ok here we go!
- Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together until it resembles a paste.
- Press into liners and bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile make the cake:
- Beat butter until soft. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add eggs and beat until well combined
- Put flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Measure out milk and vanilla and stir to combine in a small bowl.
- Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding alternating between dry and wet–finish with the dry.
- Scoop batter into baked crusts in liners–fill like 3/4 to the top.
- Bake for about 18 minutes–or until cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool!
While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the ganache.
Make the caramel sauce ahead of time (recipe will follow). I made it first– then made the cupcakes.
Then you’re ready to assemble the cupcakes!!
Make a hole in the center of each cupcake. You can use an apple corer, or a small pairing knife and cut a cone-like shape out of the center. (save the pieces you cut out for your significant other). Dip your cupcakes into the ganache quickly. I kinda rolled the surface of the cupcake for a sec and then twirled it around as I lifted it out of the bowl so it won’t be so messy. Then fill the cupcakes with either the caramel sauce or ganache using a piping bag. Now, I buy these wholesale–but you can buy them at any store that sells crafts and baking stuff like Michael’s, or JoAnn Fabrics. OR you can just use a ziplock bag and cut the tip off.
Please don’t be like me and make sure you dip them BEFORE you fill them. This is a real delicious mess– but its just easier to do the steps in the correct order 🙂
Then drizzle the caramel sauce over the whooooole cupcake and sprinkle crushed pretzels on top. You can do the same bag method or just use a spoon. Bam!
These were so amazingly delicious. I can’t even do them justice by just talking about them but they were seriously one of the tastiest things I’ve ever made! How good is my photography getting huh huh huh??
Now for the caramel sauce…..
A lot of people seem to be intimidated by the idea of making caramel from scratch. Could be the issue of boiling sugar and potential burning opportunities but it’s really not that hard! You just have to be prepared and ready. The best advice is to have all of your things ready to go before you start. That means have your heavy cream measured out, your whisk nearby, and cut up the butter into chunks. And have a cutting board to heat proof surface nearby to put the pot on while you make it. And a mason jar to put the sauce into. And tongs to take out the vanilla beans. Ok I think that’s it…..
- In a medium pot, combine sugar, water. Scrape vanilla beans and add the insides, plus the whole beans. (again–if you don’t want to spend your paycheck on vanilla beans–the caramel will be still be fabulous). Stir with the tip of your candy thermometer very very gently. You don’t want a lot of sugar crystals up the sides of the pot because they will burn. I heard that you could use a spatula dipped in hot water to scrape it down while its cooking but I didn’t do that so I’m not sure if that would work or not….
- Put the pot on the stove over medium heat with the candy thermometer attached.
- Watch the pot!
- Once the temp reaches just about 360 take off the burner and put onto the cutting board. Take out the whole vanilla beans with the tongs.
- IMMEDIATELY pour the heavy cream into the pot. It will rise up! It’s a little scary but don’t worry–just watch out for the steam. Start to whisk the sauce in the pot with one hand.
- With your other hand, grab a couple chunks of butter and drop into the pot. KEEP WHISKING with your other hand. Add more butter–1 or 2 chunks at a time–once the other chunks have dissolved. Keep doing this until all the butter is gone. WHISK the entire time. Yes, your arm will start to hurt.
- Pour into a mason jar and let cool. You can put it into an ice bath if you want to, too.
Congratulations you’ve just made homemade caramel sauce!!!
You can use this for dipping apples, drizzling, dunking cookies into… whatever your foodie heart desires. YOU DID IT!
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