I know I should stick to the perimeter of the grocery where all the fresh products are on display, but I always end up weaving my way up and down the aisles. While I try to avoid processed food, I can’t seem to resist perusing the snack section. Inevitably a bag of mini pretzels ends up in my cart. Salty cravings tend to hit me in the late afternoon, and I nibble on pretzels topped with paper-thin slices of cheese.
Rather than sticking to my typical savory snack, I baked pretzels into cookies. For these pretzel shortbread bars, I pulsed pretzels in the food processor until they turned into flour that was incorporated into the dough. The sweet and salty bars had a buttery, almost caramel-like flavor. Broken pretzels decorated the crumbly shortbread creating an eye-catching abstract pattern.
Pretzel Shortbread Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living October 2011
Makes about 1 dozen
Non-stick cooking spray
3-1/4 cups miniature salted pretzels
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 14-inch x 4-1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 1-3/4 cups pretzels until they have the consistency of flour. Combine 1/2 cup pretzel flour, all-purpose flour and baking powder in a medium bowl.
Discard the leftover pretzel flour. Pulse the remaining whole pretzels until they are roughly chopped.
Using an electric or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk and then the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in 1/2 cup chopped pretzels.
Spread the dough into the prepared tart pan and press 1/4 cup chopped pretzels on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the shortbread is light brown and firm to the touch. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan and cutting into 1-inch wide rectangles with a serrated knife.
Store in an airtight container.