An irresistibly cute sweet-and-salty Halloween treat!
I’ve fallen behind on the Halloween front.
While other bloggers like Dorothy and Averie developed festive desserts as soon as the calendar flipped to October, I… forgot. I bought lots of Halloween candy when I spotted it in stores, fully intending to treat it as inspiration and bake something creative (or at least stock up for the costume-clad kids), but after nibbling away at one two thirty-seven mini Milky Ways and 3 Musketeers, I admitted defeat. I was stumped.
Yet still in the mood for more chocolate, I decided to bake a pan of my favorite fudgy brownies. Hey, wait a second… What if I Halloween-ified them? With… Umm… Uhh… Pumpkin-shaped pretzels! Those exist, right?
A quick internet search reassured me that the local Walmart stocked such a thing, so I hopped in my car and zipped over to grab a bag. I headed to the special Halloween section, scoured all three candy aisles, and found… Nothing. Lots of chocolate, lots of sugar, but no salty pumpkin pretzels.
I walked across the entire store to the Grocery Department to check the few orange bins of Halloween favors. Nada. I wandered to the regular pretzel aisle, peering at the twists and sticks, but struck out again. I stopped an employee, who asked three other Walmart workers, and none of them had even heard of pumpkin-shaped pretzels.
Time for Plan B: pumpkin-shaped Yorkshire peppermint patties (with an orange icing drizzle, to make the dark chocolate pop against the brownie background). Or Plan C: jack-o-lantern sugar toppers for cupcakes (placed on the brownies after baking). Or Plan D: round orange candy melts pressed into the cooled brownies with a squirt of green icing for the stem.
Yeah, I was grasping at thin air.
Finally, after crossing the store six times to triple-check I didn’t miss them, I stood in line and paid the cashier for my basket full of backups. I trudged toward the second entrance—not the way I came in—and, on a whim, turned to look at the pink and green plastic jack-o-lantern treat buckets on display.
And there they were. The bright orange metallic bag of bat and pumpkin pretzels, sitting innocently alongside the Goldfish and Cheetos. I squeezed it to my chest, sprinted to the self-checkout, and raced home to bake.
I started with your favorite Ooey Gooey Brownies. They’re rich, moist, and super fudgy—probably the fudgiest recipe you’ll ever make! To keep the brownies healthy and diet-friendly (because people start moaning about their waistlines from now until New Year’s!), I mixed in Greek yogurt to replace most of the melted butter and extra cocoa powder to amplify the chocolate flavor without the excess calories.
The recipe is almost as simple as a box mix. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. In another, stir together hot melted butter and hot melted chocolate. If you allow them to cool, the chocolate may solidify and clump. Mix in the sugar until it looks like dark sand; then stir in the egg whites (skip the yolks to keep the brownies skinny!), Greek yogurt, milk, and vanilla. After you add in the dry ingredients, the batter is done!
Right before popping the pan in the oven, gently press 16 pumpkin pretzels into the batter. Just eyeball it—it’s okay if they’re not quite centered! For the fudgiest brownies, bake them for 23-24 minutes, no more! Although they look underdone, the brownies continue to cook a little in the warm pan as they cool. Once they reach room temperature, let the brownies rest for another hour or two so they set completely before cutting into squares.
After eating a few of these Pumpkin Pretzel Halloween Brownies, I’m finally getting into the spooky holiday spirit. But be sure you grab a glass of milk (or witch’s brew) before eating one—you’ll really need it after all that frightfully fudgy chocolate!
Yield: 16 brownies
Serving Size: 1 brownie
Extra fudgy (but still healthy!) rich chocolate brownies topped with pumpkin-shaped pretzels. An irresistibly cute sweet-and-salty Halloween treat! They’ll stay soft for a few days if kept in an airtight container, but the pretzels will also soften as well and lose their crunch.
- Preheat the oven to 300°, and lightly coat an 8”-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup, and level with a knife. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and dark chocolate chips. Mix in the sugar. Add in the egg whites, milk, yogurt, and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. (It’s okay to have small lumps in the batter!)
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and press 1 pretzel into the center of where each square would be. Bake at 300° for 24-28 minutes (closer to 24 minutes for more ooey gooey parts; closer to 28 minutes for a less fudgy texture). The brownies in the center may not be set. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Let the brownies set for at least 2 hours once at room temperature before slicing into squares with a sharp knife.
Note: Use dark chocolate chips, not semi-sweet. The semi-sweet will make the brownies much milkier.
View Nutrition Information