mini pretzel shortbreads

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This is for all of you who don’t like super sweet treats.  I have a sweet and salty recipe using pretzels. I love the idea of using salty snacks in desserts.  Does anybody else feel the same way?  I’ve seen people use corn chips, popcorn and potato chips which all sound really good.  Sweet, salty and crunchy…it’s all good.

Once you prepare all of the pretzels the rest is a breeze.  This recipe uses finely crushed pretzels and chopped pieces in the dough with whole pretzels on top. They looked so good and were begging to be topped with something sweet (at least that’s what my sweet tooth was telling me) so I took the liberty of ‘taste testing’ the pretzel shortbreads throughout the week with things I had on hand which included the following:

Salted caramel sauce

Vanilla ice cream

Vanilla icing

Chocolate ganache (chocolate mixed with heavy cream)

A piece of dark chocolate

Just so you know I approve of all of the above.  The salted caramel sauce was by far my favorite since it added to the sweet and salty flavors.

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Butter creamed with sugar until it turns a delicate pale yellow.

It’s so pretty I’d paint this color on my walls.  I call shots like this ‘food art.’  Starting this blog made me slow down and appreciate my ingredients.  It also allows me to be creative with how I photograph and present my food.  I love it.  Can you tell?

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The original recipe uses a fluted tart pan for this to make bars but I didn’t want to go out and buy one.   You could also use an 8’’ by 8’’ brownie pan but I decided to be fun and use a small muffin tin and cut the baking time to 15 min.  I figured the mini pretzels would fit perfectly on top of the shortbreads.

Be sure to prepare the muffin tin.  Do this by greasing each cup with butter or oil then put a teaspoon of flour in each cup and swirl the pan around to make sure the sides and the bottom of each tin is covered.  This can get messy so I did it over the sink.  This will allow you to retrieve your shortbreads from the pan easily.

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Ready for the oven…

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Yay for bite size treats!

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Mini pretzel shortbreads

adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

about 3 3/4 cups salted miniature twist pretzels

1/2 cup of all purpose flour (plus 1/4 cup for preparing the pan)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (plus a couple tablespoons for greasing the pan)

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg yolk

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Prepare tin by coating each muffin tin with butter (you can use cooking spray I just had butter on hand).  Then pour about a teaspoon of flour in each tin and swirl the pan around to coat the sides and bottom with flour.

In a blender or food processor, crush 1 3/4 cup of pretzels (yes I actually measured 1 3/4 cups of pretzels while they were still whole) until it becomes a powder.  Transfer to a bowl and  add the flour and baking powder. Next, chop 1/2 cup of pretzels (I also measured  1/2 cup of whole pretzels) and set aside.  Use the remaining pretzels for the top of each shortbread at the end.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until pale yellow.  At a lower speed, add the yolk and pretzel flour mixture until incorporated.  Mix in the chopped pretzels by hand. The dough will be crumbly.

Pour a heaping tablespoon of dough into each tin.  Top the dough with a whole pretzel and press down lightly on the pretzel and the surrounding dough.

Bake until the edges become brown and the majority of the center is still pale, about 15 min. Once they slightly cooled, use a knife to pop each shortbread out of the tin.  Do this by placing the knife at the edge of the shortbread and use pressure to pop it out.  They should come out easily if you greased and prepared the pan well.

Another option is to use an 8″ x 8″ pan just increase the baking time to 25-30 min.

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