The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee

Kramer and I are headed to Philadelphia this weekend! I’m really excited because I’ve never been there before (neither has Kramer). I was a history major in college, so hopefully I’ll be able to see a few key historic sites while I’m there, as well as enjoy the (hopefully) cooler weather! The reason that we have the opportunity to go is that my father is going to be in town for business, so my mother is tagging along with him and since we live so close, Kramer and I bought Amtrak tickets to meet them there Friday night. We’re only staying Saturday and Sunday, then heading off to New Jersey to see my Aunt Renée, her husband Kenny, and my grandfather (or as we call him, Poppa). I haven’t been to their area of New Jersey in years, so I’m really excited to return to the Motherland (I was born in Morristown, New Jersey). Back to Philadelphia, though – what are some of the things that we absolutely must do in our short time there? I already have plans to go to Mac’s Tavern (the bar that Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia opened), but I’m torn on which historical spots to see, since there are so many and I only have a day and a half to do it all in!

I had always wanted to make the famous Baked Brownie, but for some reason I continued to make the same old brownies over and over again because they always came out the way I wanted and it was a one-bowl recipe! I finally gave in, though, and made these to bring into work a few weeks ago. I wanted to spice them up a bit, so I added crushed pretzels and toffee bits on top, which created a lovely sweet-and-salty combination that was to die for, if I don’t say so myself. The baked brownie itself definitely lived up to its expectations. They were rich and fudgy, but not too dense. Every bite was filled with perfectly balanced chocolatey goodness, with a bit of a crunch from the pretzels and toffee. These brownies practically beg to be eaten along with a cold glass of milk, but you will be happy to eat one without, too. I know that a lot of people have a recipe for brownies that they would never think of faltering from, but for this baked brownie, I beg you to reconsider. These are perfect for the upcoming holiday weekend – who doesn’t love the classic sweet and salty combo?

Before you check out the recipe, just a quick reminder! Don’t forget to enter to win the Bite Me Cookbook!

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Your ingredients.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder and set aside.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Melt together the chocolate and butter.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Beat in your sugars.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Beat in your eggs, one at a time.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Add in the flour, carefully, until just combined. Finish mixing by hand if need be, just don’t overbeat!

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Pour your brownie batter into a greased and/or lined 9×13 pan.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Sprinkle with your crushed pretzels and toffee bits. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or so, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick. The top should not jiggle too much when shaken. Cover the pan with foil if it begins to brown too much on top.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee

The Baked Brownie with Pretzels & Toffee
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25-36 brownies
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup toffee bits (I used Heath)
  • ⅓ cup crushed pretzel bits
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line and/or grease sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. Put the chocolate and room temperature butter in a non-stick sauce pan and place over low-heat. Stir often to prevent burning until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. You can also use a double boiler, if you have one, but I am lazy and usually use this method. Make sure your butter is room temperature before you put it in, though, or it and the chocolate will burn! Turn off the heat and whisk in the sugars (use a stand-up blender, if you have one). Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. Don't be afraid if the mixture separates a little bit. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add your eggs, one at a time, until completely combined. Add in the vanilla and whisk until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey, which is the opposite of what we want (fudgy!).
  5. Add the flour to the chocolate mixture a bit at a time. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer (or by hand, if you're a champion), beat the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible. Finish by hand if you need to - do NOT overbeat!
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a greased spatula. Sprinkle the toffee and pretzels over the top as evenly as possible. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
  7. Take the brownies out and place on a baking rack while still in the pan (if you don't have a baking rack, don't worry about it, I just like to use one so the air circulates under the brownies and they cool faster). Allow the brownies to cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve. Makes 25-36 brownies, depending on how small you cut them (I cut them small to take into work and got about 36 brownies).


79 Responses

  1. Wei-Wei says:

    Mmm. This reminds me of those pretzel M&Ms… I’m not so much interested in the toffee, but maybe the addition of PB would be really awesome. 😀

  2. Megan says:

    This looks super good. Salty sweet!

  3. Cat says:

    Hey Sydney! That brownie looks amazing! I went to Philadelphia as part of my East Coast trip this summer (I’m from the UK) and it was a gorgeous city. The queues for a lot of the historical stuff were really long and we didn’t have much time but we saw loads of interesting things just by wandering around the city – there’s street art eveywhere!

    One place I have to recommend you try is Govinda’s Vegetarian at 1408 South St. I know you’re a big meat lover but Govinda’s is just incredible!

  4. Jane M says:

    I’m from Morristown NJ as well! After living in NYC after college (many moons ago) my family has settled in South Orange – 18 years and counting. Brownies look delish!

  5. I love the Baked brownie! I made mine with caramel creme fraiche on the side

    I love the pretzels and toffee bits addition in yours !

  6. Ellen says:

    Is it common for brownie recipes to not include any leavening? My fav recipe has quite a bit of baking powder.

    • Sydney says:

      Ellen: I’ve never used a brownie recipe (that I can recall) that uses any sort of leavening ingredient. Is your favorite recipe cake-like? The fudgey consistency of these brownies would not be achieved if there was baking powder/soda added to it. It’s all a matter of what you want in the end!

  7. Mr. Phil says:

    Hey Sydney. Long time reader, first time commenter. But I had to say something about these brownies. They look delectable! And I’m not even a dessert dude.

    Hope you have a good time in Philly – that’s where I’m from. You’ll have no problem just wandering and finding stuff, but off the top of my head I’d recommend checking out Penn’s Landing if the weather is nice, and Cheesesteak corner (where Pat’s and Gino’s are) on 9th and Passyunk. Have a great weekend!


    • Sydney says:

      Phil: Thanks! We wanted to go grab one cheesesteak from Pat’s and one from Gino’s to compare and contrast, but I didn’t know where to go (haha). Which is your favorite?

  8. Tina from PA says:

    Oh my ,those brownies look PERFECT ! Maybe you could throw me one from the train as you’re passing by!Would that be too funny or what ? I hope you guys have a wonderful time ,I’m sure you will. My husband was born in Morristown also,now we live between Wilkes-Barre & Scranton! Happy Labor Day !!

  9. Tina from PA says:

    Sydney. Sorry to comment again , but, I just wanted to Thank You for your kind words from my comment from the last post ,you will never know what it means to me , and I’m sure many others that you acknowledge every comment and always with a kind word . Thank You for all your hard work . You and Kramer are special people .

  10. Rachel says:

    I live in Philadelphia and my absolute favorite thing to do in the city is go out and eat! Depending on what you like or are open to trying, you can literally find anything for any budget.

    If you have extra $$$ – I recommend any of Jose Garces’ restaurants. His restaurants each have a different flavor, so definitely look at the menus. The Arugula salad at Tinto, and the duck fat french fries at Village Whiskey are my favorites.

    Osteria – the Lombarda pizza with mozzarella, bitto cheese, cotechino sausage and a baked egg. With a side dish or appetizer, it’s enough for two!

    Fuji Mountain – the best sushi restaurant in Philadelphia. They don’t have sweet potato rolls, which is the only downfall.

    Things happening this weekend:
    – Red Bull Flugtag in Camden, NJ on Saturday
    – Making Time Radbeque (all night dance party, pool party + BBQ)
    – check out for other ideas

    Hope you enjoy your trip!!

  11. Mr. Phil says:

    Definitely worth trying both, but I’d have to say Pat’s is my favorite of the two.

  12. ingrid says:

    I adore that salty & sweet combo…so, so good!

    Hope you guys have a safe trip and a good time!

  13. Mary says:

    Recipe looks fantastic! I would recommend the Reading Market right in the center of town. It’s a wonderful marketplace for all kinds of food and other stuff–hard to describe, but unique and great!

  14. Maggie says:

    These look amazing!

  15. Val says:

    If you love turkish food go to Bosphorus it’s 10 mins from Morristown.. Across from the Rattlesnake Cafe… I used to go there once a week when I lived in Morrisplains after graduating college…

    In Philly you must eat a cheese steak and a pretzel… and run up the “Rocky” stairs… Have fun!

  16. Jen says:

    Ahh I live in Philly and Rachel above already mentioned a bunch of the good places. I’d suggest you skip Mac’s (it’s not really that great) and grab a drink on Rittenhouse Square at either Parc or Rouge, it’s great for people watching and enjoying the nice weather (if Earl misses us!)

    Definitely get a cheesesteak at Pat’s or Geno’s, and while you’re there, take a gander at the famous Italian Market and get a cannoli at Isgro’s. See the historic stuff – Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are a stone’s throw from each other so you could easily see both.

    Have fun!!

    • Sydney says:

      @Jen: I have to go to Mac’s because I love the show, but it won’t be my whole evening, don’t worry! I can’t wait to go to the market!

      @Krista: I’ve never heard of the Reading Tunnel – thanks for the tip!

      @Emily: It’s supposed to cool down this weekend, though! Can’t a girl dream? :)

      @Emily: Thank you very much!

      @Ellen: I’m glad that you liked it! Dulce de leche would definitely be better in a cakey brownie, though, you are absolutely right. Thanks again for stopping by!

      @Paula: I hope that you try it and find out! :)

  17. Krista says:

    I would definitely say go to the Reading Terminal as well. It is at 12th and Arch. It is the perfect place for a foodie. They have a little bit if everything and it is all yummy. They have a great little Amish section if you want to try Amish food. Great cheesesteaks and roasted pork sandwiches too.

  18. Alice says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! Yours look gorgeous with so many interesting recipes! I love brownie and this is definitely looks good.

  19. Emily says:

    First of all, I am really excited to make these brownies because I just started classes again yesterday and am already way stressed.

    Second, I wouldn’t get too excited about the weather because I live about 20 minutes out of Philly and it’s been in or around the 90s here lately.

  20. Emily says:

    This is a marriage of everything awesome in life! I have to try these. Soon.

  21. Ellen says:

    This was the first thing I read this morning and as I am about to go to sleep, they are coming out of the oven! Haha, I couldn’t resist (and had a friend’s bday to bake for). You’re right! These are much fudgier than the brownies I normally make. I think I like them both, but i suppose different brownie textures for different applications? The cakey ones I make I like to put stuff like Dulce de leche in, and I’m not sure that would work well in these.

    Anyway, the main point is that these are AWESOME!! I love the pretzels on top! Thank you so much for sharing and expanding my knowledge of brownies (also they were so good that I ate an irresponsible amount of batter – true testament to a great recipe!)! Have a nice trip!

  22. Paula says:

    everything in that brownie must be delicious!

  23. Dana says:

    Those sound like some awesome brownies! Do the pretzels maintain their crunch? I’m sure the salty-sweet the pretzels contribute is awesome, but a little bit of bite from them too would add a good textural contrast to dreamy, rich, smooth brownie. Have fun in Philadelphia!

  24. Terri says:

    Oh my… I think I’ve died and gone to heaven! I need these brownies!

  25. These look SOOOOO good!! I love toffee… and I love the idea of sprinkling pretzels on top for a little extra crunch and salt. Thanks for the recipe!

  26. jenn says:

    omg…I wasn’t aware that they actually had a it’s always sunny bar that they own. That makes me want to go to philly. Also…do they actually have wine in a can? :o)

  27. Kristen says:

    I just put a batch of these in the oven…
    I used mediocre chocolate chips tho so I’m not sure how they’ll turn out.

  28. This recipe is simply awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe as I would surely give this a try tomorrow as my daughter would surely love this. It would also go really well with a hot cup of coffee made from my fully automatic espresso machine at home. Kudos!

  29. Lamb says:

    I think I’m going to be on your blog the rest of the weekend. I love all your delicious photos! Every recipe looks like something I want to make – I can’t possibly try them all though…can I? 😉

  30. Nina @ Salt says:

    Pretzels with the Baked brownie?! Wow–what a great combo. So happy to have found this . Your blog is fantastic….beautiful photos!

  31. cralsies says:

    LOVE THEM! I stuck half in the freezer to save for my in-laws and when we finally got around to eating them, they were even better than the fresh ones! Cheers 😛

  32. I made these for Super Bowl and they went over great! My friend who prefers salty flavors went crazy over them. Thanks!

  33. laura says:

    wow. i have cravings. shame im at work and not baking!

  34. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my god, my god my god my god. Just looking at these made scream with delight

  35. Pam says:

    I am making a birthday package to send to my friend in Iraq and I’d love to add these. How long will they stay fresh if wrapped airtight??

    They look delicious and by some coincidence, I have all the ingredients in my pantry.

    Thank you.

  36. […] Bow, 79 Ideas 2. S’More Bars, Lick the Bowl Good 3. Baked Brownie with Pretzels and Toffee, Crepes of Wrath Sources: 1. Margarita Bar, Bluebonnets and Brownies 2. Rainbow Cookie Bars, Flickr 3. White and Dark […]

  37. Awesome recipe! Love it! Thanks!

  38. Nic says:

    These looked amazing, so I crumbled a little maple bacon on top before I baked them and they were off the charts!!!
    Thank you so much for the recipe!!

  39. daisy b says:

    Oh may gaw these are amazing!! People always think I’m crazy when I eat pretzels and chocolate together but the sweet and salty mix is THE BEES KNEES.

  40. […] Here’s what you’ll need to make these brownies. […]

  41. Gabrielle says:

    THESE ARE EPICALLY DELICIOUS. I did Reece’s Pieces instead of Heath pieces. OMG just yum.

  42. Gracious me, I’m swooning. These look fabulous. Hoping I can find all the ingredients to make these babies on the way home from work today!

  43. […] pies, and cakes from them since then, and I really can’t get enough! I had made the infamous Baked brownies, so I knew how good the recipes were, but for some reason, I hadn’t bought the cookbook yet. […]

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