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Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes – The First Ganache

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.


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5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes – The First Ganache

Chocolate cupcakes with pretzel crust? YUM
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate cupcakes, chocolate ganache, pretzel pie crust
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 303kcal
Author Stef


Chocolate Pretzel Crust Ingredients

  • 3/4 C butter room temperature
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 C crushed pretzels

Chocolate Pretzel Cupcake Ingredients

  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 C buttermilk
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Pretzel Topping Ingredients

  • 24 circular pretzels
  • 24 milk chocolate candy kisses
  • 1 1.69 ounce package mini candy-coated chocolates


Chocolate Pretzel Crust Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients.
  • Line two cupcake tins with paper liners.
  • Press the mixture into the liners.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.

Chocolate Pretzel Cupcake Instructions

  • Mix in the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Beat in the eggs.
  • Beat in the warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract until just combined.
  • Spoon the batter over prepared cupcake liners with pretzel crusts.
  • Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until cupcake bounce back when lightly touched.

Chocolate Ganache Instructions

  • Place the chocolate into a medium bowl.
  • Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot.
  • When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth.
  • Stir in the vanilla.
  • To frost the cupcakes, dip them into the bowl of ganache.*

Chocolate Pretzel Topping Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Place pretzels on baking sheets.
  • Unwrap candy kisses and place one in the center of each pretzel.
  • Place in preheated oven 1 to 2 minutes, until kisses melt.
  • Remove from oven and place one candy-coated chocolate in the center of each pretzel.
  • Chill in refrigerator until set.


*The problem was that since the cupcakes hadn't risen above the top of the liner, it was impossible to dip and not cover the liner in chocolate. I was very concerned that these were going to be messy and look bad. As it turned out, after sticking them in the fridge, the chocolate covered liners looked really pretty - almost as if I had done it on purpose. It was quite a happy surprise!


Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes – The First Ganache
Amount Per Serving
Calories 303 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 10g50%
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 343mg14%
Potassium 163mg5%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 360IU7%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Have you tried this recipe?Click here to leave a comment and rating!

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!

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25 comments on “Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes – The First Ganache”

  1. Glensays:

    Very impressive looking!

  2. K.says:

    These were cute, festive and extremely yummy. The whole sweet and salty thing was perfect! You have once again come up with a delicious work of art.

    (and thanks for the shout-out!)

  3. …in my defense, i was so full from dinner, my eyeballs hurt. the cupcakes were great, but at that point in the evening, anything i ate hurt!

    it’s great that i finally found someone who like cupcakes more than i do! (although, i am most likely to make cupcakes from a box mix–because i am lazy)…. we’ll have to get together at the cupcake bar when it opens!


  4. Bryansays:

    These cupcakes were a bit of a mystery to me. I really liked the concept, the look, the uniqueness, etc… I think they are a great idea and it was pulled off quite well by the chef. For some reason they just didn’t come together for me all the way. I enjoyed them, but we have had so many outstanding cupcakes, that a really good cupcake is not the same anymore. The bar has been raised….

    Cake: B This was probably my least favorite part. It seemed a bit crumbly and non-moist. It tasted great and overall was fine, but just a tad off. I think larger cakes would have been nice, but I understand why this happened.
    Icing: A- Nothing wrong with the ganache

    Overall Taste: B+ Good taste, just off a little.

    Appearance: A- I thought these looked nice. Good decorations. I liked the sprinkled pretzel and chocolate covered pretzel on top. However, the sprinkled pretzel and whole pretzel were a bit stale/soggy. I believe that this is because they had been made 2 days earlier and had been in the fridge. This is important to consider when thinking about the wedding planning and when they would be made.

    Overall: B+/A- These cupcakes were good a yummy, but I wouldn’t call them great. Fabulous idea though and I think it has many uses for the future.

    Good job, Keep the great ideas and tastes coming!

  5. Garrettsays:

    Hmm, I have never tried pretzels and chocolate together before…

  6. Just wanted to let you know that as I have gotten into making cakes and cupcakes more often I have become obsessed with seeing your new creations. Everyone is apetizing. I’m trying this one next. Because I’m so into your quest to find the best cupcakes, I listed you when i was asked to link to my 5 fave female bloggers. Please keep posting on the progress!

    PS- I just tried a recipe for an orange and chocolate cupcake (recipe on my blog). I had it on the counter in a box and it didn’t keep too well, but if you could get it to keep well it would definitely be one to try! Was so delish!

  7. Stefsays:

    Tart – thanks so much for linking to me! Glad you like the blog. Can’t wait to hear how your version of the chocolate pretzel cupcakes comes out! My baking adventure today was a bit of a bust, more later.

    Garret – You’ve never had a chocolate pretzel or just in a cupcake? Definitely worth trying just a chocolate pretzel if you’ve never had one.

  8. Thanks for your lovely comments!

    Pretzel cupcake? Wow! I am sure it was scrumptious.
    I am so excited to see what you post next. :)

  9. Yo Stef,

    The photos here are fantastic… is this J’s new camera at work?

    Are you soliciting ideas/suggestions?


  10. Stefsays:

    Glad you like the pics. Thanks! Yes, they are done with our Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi.

    I’m open to any ideas you’ve got. Although it is true that if I don’t think of it myself I’m less likely to make it because it just isn’t as fun.

  11. these look and sound so beautiful! that’s the same camera we have. I need to learn the functions one of these days.

  12. Wilenesays:

    you mentioned buttermilk around, for people who dont bake often they have powdered buttermilk in the baking section now you just add water!! you keep it in the icebox after you open it, it lasts forever!!! btw im new to your blog and im LOVING IT!! im going to try the oreo cookies this weekend :)

  13. I know this post is old but hopefully you get this…
    I want to make these but need to know if you bake the crust first and then add the batter on top.

  14. Stefsays:

    Christina – Thanks for leaving this comment. I can understand your confusion. You should prebake the crust per the crust recipe. I am going to update this post as soon as I get a chance.

  15. Courtneysays:

    My Aunt’s favorite thing is chocolate covered pretzels so I was looking at how I could turn this into a birthday cake for her. Thank you for this great recipe! They are in the oven baking now and they smell SO good!

  16. LBLsays:

    I made the ganache but I only had 8 oz. of semi sweet chocolate. but it must have worked regardless, b/c it is so yummy! I’m spreading it on top of some strawberry jam-stuffed chocolate cupcakes that will be topped with your chocolate cream cheese frosting. This is my first big creative cupcake project and I have you to thank for the help :-)

  17. Anonymoussays:

    Wow! Made these today and they are YUMMY!! I halved the recipe (24 is a lot for 3 kids) and I added peanut butter to the ganache as the kids really enjoy pretzels w/P.B. The pretzel/sugar/butter crisp alone is just so tasty :)

    Thanks again for another wonderful recipe and for inspiring me to get back in the kitchen!

    Michelle in Michigan

  18. I put everything together for the cupcake recipe but found the water mentioned in the ingredient list was not mentioned in the actual directions for the cupcake. I made them without the water because the consistency was very cake-like without it. Is it necessary to add the water? If so, when?

  19. Stefsays:

    C. Elliott – I can’t believe that you are the first person to point this out! Thanks for letting me know. I updated the recipe to show when to add the water. Did you enjoy them without the water? These would also be great with coffee instead of water.

  20. Anonymoussays:

    This looks like a delicious cupcake! The mix of salty and sweet are really tremendous. A similar item that you guys might enjoy are PopsyCakes. Check out the link here:

    They’re 100% delicious and look very good too.

  21. Hi… I have an upcoming wedding. Was thinking of using ganache for the wedding cupcakes. Can the ganache be kept outside for at least 8hours?

  22. Stefsays:

    Fussihaa – No, I would not leave ganache out that long. Sorry. :(

  23. Kellysays:

    I made Margarita Cupcakes last night with the pretzel crust. Yum!

    This is my second time using the pretzel crust, the first being with chocolate cake. The chocolate cake recipe I used was too moist and the crust did not stay as part of the cupcake, but was still very yummy.

    This time with the Margarita Cupcakes, it was a very nice addition and must have!

    You are a cupcake artist! Thank you for sharing your passion.

  24. Anonymoussays:

    Uau!!!Delicia!Delicia!!assim você memata!!hummmmm

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