Salty and sweet with a crunch, these chocolate pretzel cupcakes have it all.
My Chocolate Pretzel Cupcake Inspiration
Before my office moved near my new favorite clothing store, Plato’s Closet (it’s not just for teens, really it’s not), we were located downtown directly above a Macy’s (we’re talking in the same building, no need to even go outside). Macy’s was my second office. If I needed to make a private phone call, I’d do it while strolling around Macy’s. Needless to say, I have never gotten to know a department store so well. When I was in Macy’s and needed a snack, I’d head to the chocolate counter. My favorite item (basically the only item I ever got) was the dark chocolate covered pretzels.
This week I decided to recreate the experience in cupcake form (what else?).
The Chocolate Pretzel Cupcake Crust
I started with a pretzel crust. I had made a pretzel crust once before when I made a margarita ice cream pie. Mmmm that was a tasty thing, perhaps I’ll make that again someday when I am once more making something other than cupcakes.
I got the chocolate pretzel cupcake crust recipe from my old standby, allrecipes. I lined 24 cupcake wrappers with it and still had a bunch leftover. Per my husband’s request, I rolled the leftovers into a big ball, wrapped in foil and baked. We’ve been snacking on that although it never quite solidified.
I am reprinting it with my instructions on how to use it in cupcakes.
The Chocolate Pretzel Cupcake
For the chocolate cake part, I used a recipe I found on Chezpei (originally from Martha Stewart). She raved about the recipe and said one of the nice things about it was that she had all the ingredients in her house. As it turns out, so did I. Sure, not everyone has buttermilk sitting around, but when you bake cupcakes every week, you tend to have these things.
Chezpei warned that the cupcakes would rise a lot and that you should just fill them halfway if you wanted them to be tall and domed like hers. Because I already had the crust in my liners and I wanted to be sure to have a decent amount of cake, I ended up filling mine 2/3 of the way. To my surprise, they barely rose at all. I would have liked for them to be much taller. Most of them didn’t even come over the top of the liner. My only guess as to why that would be is that maybe she beat her batter more. She had no direction about how much to mix. I’m always concerned about over mixing, so I didn’t mix very much.
But who really cares about size? They looked and smelled great. I was getting excited.
I am reprinting her ingredients along with my instructions.
The Chocolate Ganache
For the topping, I opted for a dark chocolate ganache. Since this is the first ganache I have made and not all of you read a plethora of cupcake blogs like I do, let me take a moment and explain what a ganache is. I will also freely admit that I never heard of ganache prior to reading all these cupcake blogs.
According to wikipedia, “Ganache is a French word (literally translated as “fool”) for a mixture of chocolate and heavy cream.” At first I thought it would be more like a hot fudge. Actually, it’s more like the topping on a hostess cupcake only a billion times better. When used as a frosting, it’s like a thin layer of fudge with some bit of texture to it.
I got my recipe from allrecipes. The recipe is printed along with my slight modifications.
The Chocolate Pretzel Topping
For the piece de resistance, I topped each cupcake with a decorative chocolate covered pretzel. I also got that idea from allrecipes. What can I say, they never let me down.
The End Result
I thought these were sensational. I loved looking at them cause they seemed so festive with the nice potpourri of colors and I loved the combination of flavors in my mouth. If they had sold those at Macy’s instead of the plain ordinary chocolate covered pretzels, I would have been in big trouble.
I brought these cupcakes to a friend’s birthday party. There were 3 other bloggers at the party. Blogger 1 did not write about the party (although, in all fairness he has not yet blogged about the weekend so there is still time. I’ll be sure to post an update if something changes), Blogger 2 (blog no longer exists) wrote about the party and mentioned the fact that there was ice cream and the ice cream bringer was her hero (I do like ice cream and after having just jumped up and down for an hour I can’t quite blame her for wanting something cool and refreshing and not focusing on my little masterpieces), Blogger 3 raved about the cupcakes. She’s my new best friend :).
Update 8/2/07: Blogger 1 didn’t write about this specific cupcake, but he did give props to the Cupcake Project . Thanks Blogger 1!