Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites (dipped in chocolate!)

March 25, 2011 at 12:07 am 143 comments

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites (dipped in chocolate)

Inspiration has hit me again. Pretty hard. And this time I think it’ll be harder to shake.

I had some free time between classes, so I went to the store. For the first time in my life, I bought myself basic ingredients, starting with absolutely nothing. I tried to balance quality and price as I grabbed flour, sugar (white, brown, and powdered), vanilla, salt, butter, cream, and eggs… At the very last minute, standing in the check out line, I ran back to get baking powder and soda. Almost forgot.

When the total came up and I took out my wallet, I mentally calculated how many tables I’d have to wait to gain it back. Since when was baking such an expensive hobby?

This being-an-adult, shopping-for-your-own-groceries thing is tough. But I smiled the whole ride home.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

As the week went on, the anticipation grew. I think this is what I discovered. When the only times you bake are for dinner with the neighbors, birthdays, holidays and paid orders, something is wrong. When you’re baking just because? Because you want to, because it’s Thursday, because there are four pounds of sugar under your bed? These reasons are happiness-generators, like fresh batches of Play Doh and abandoned fields of dandelions.

Faced with the freedom of no guidelines, I couldn’t decide whether to go crunchy or chewy, warm or chilled, chocolate-glazed or baked with fruit. On Saturday I was sure I would make a citrusy pound cake. Sunday I’d switched to some kind of breakfast scone, easy to share with the common room… By Tuesday I found myself wanting a few secret pots de creme in my mini-fridge, a midnight snack just for me.

Then, considering the mediocre fruit selection in the dining hall at lunchtime, it hit me. I took three ripe pears and looked up a recipe for clafouti. I packed all the ingredients and tools, plus a book and my camera. I lugged the ridiculously heavy bag down the street to the dorm building that has kitchens.

Peanut Butter

The kitchen was a bit of a letdown. There was no soap by the sink for dishes. The windows were blocked by buildings and didn’t let in any natural light, so no photographs. But I figured out how to work the oven, mixed the clafouti batter as best I could, and hoped for success. I sat down to read and discovered that, somewhere in Chapter 2, I could smell sugar.

I pulled the puffed, golden-brown custard out of the oven and experienced a more real satisfaction than I could have possibly imagined. My bones felt solid, my lungs felt full, and would you believe it, I felt starved. I washed the dishes and repacked the bag in a dream, and as I turned to leave, I grabbed the still-hot pan without thinking. My hand automatically opened and the clafouti splattered like vanilla-infused ink. The metal pan clattered against the linoleum and I thought it would never stop ringing in my ears and in the corners of the empty kitchen.

Empty-handed, without photos or a taste. Bitterness started to settle like steeping tea.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

But then, in spite of myself, I laughed. No regrets, no tears. Because, let’s be real, it was a pretty stupid move on my part, but it didn’t take away any of the pleasure I got from the baking process. Blog post or not, for one afternoon, I felt unfiltered elation. Maybe there was a lesson in the unsalvageable clafouti – the joy comes from the process, not from being recognized as the “baking blogger” or from eating a lot of cream.

Instead, I’m sharing these Peanut Butter Pretzel bites with you. They’re easy enough to make from a dorm. Creamy peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla combine in a rich and addictive filling. Sandwiched between two crisp, salty pretzels and dunked in bittersweet chocolate, you end up with an incredible party snack that vanishes fast.

No mixer required. No fiddling with foreign ovens. You can even melt the chocolate in the microwave (which I did.) The result is a delicious, one bite contradiction of creamy and crunchy, sweet and salty, peanutty and chocolatey.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites (dipped in chocolate)

I knew right away they wouldn’t survive the weekend, but that’s okay. I’ve still got 3 ½ pounds of sugar under my bed. That’s reason enough for me.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Actually, is there really any reason not to make these?

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites (Dipped in Chocolate!)
Adapted from Foodaphilia
Makes around 45-60 bite sizes sandwiches

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pretzels
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract until well mixed – you may need to add more to get the filling thick and stiff enough to hold its shape.

Roll teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture between your palms to form balls. Sandwich between two pretzels and put on a plate or cookie sheet. Freeze the pretzel sandwiches for half an hour.

Melt the chocolate chips, using the microwave (30 second intervals) or a double boiler. Dip half of each pretzel sandwich in chocolate. Return the tray to the freezer and chill until the chocolate sets. Store the Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites in the refrigerator until serving time.

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Coconut Pecan “Why Not” Pie with Walnuts and Toffee Raspberry Honey Tapioca

143 Comments Add your own

  • 1. stylefyles  |  March 30, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    these are genius! Be sure to keep your suger really, really, really well sealed. I knew people that got rats. yuck.

    Reply
  • 2. Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls  |  March 31, 2011 at 1:31 am

    This is brilliant! Loooove this.

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

    Reply
  • 3. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites « C'est la Vie  |  April 1, 2011 at 5:45 am

    [...] Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites [...]

    Reply
  • 4. Karen  |  April 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Made these yesterday and my kids and hubbster love them! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply
  • 5. Christine  |  April 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

    These look so good and so easy! I’m sharing your recipe on my blog today! So glad I found your blog!

    Reply
  • 6. Lauren B.  |  April 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I like how you use vivid imagery in your writing that corresponds to the taste of the peanut butter pretzel bites. I made them and they taste delicious!

    Reply
  • 7. Melanie N.  |  April 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    These look absolutely amazing. I will be headed to college in a few months, and one of my biggest fears is the lack of a familiar kitchen. I thoroughly enjoy cooking as well as baking, and being a vegetarian I find it strategic to make my own food sometimes. I’m glad to know that it can still be done, even if it doesn’t always work out perfectly.

    Reply
  • 8. ashley  |  April 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I love chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzels, but have never tried all three together and it looks delicious!

    Reply
  • 9. Jordan  |  April 4, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    What a fantastic snack! Having to pay for things yourself is a bummer sometimes, but when you make tasty treats like this it has to be worth it!

    Reply
  • 10. Semarn Kaur  |  April 4, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    THANKS for sharing a EASY and SIMPLE recipe, and I love the way you write your ideas on the blog. KEEP POSTING :)

    Reply
  • 11. gourmet gift  |  April 4, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Perfect snack for the next rainy movie day. Thank you for the recipe.h

    Reply
  • 12. Audrey  |  April 5, 2011 at 12:32 am

    These sound amazing and super simple to make… what a great idea! I really liked what you said about baking to bake and not for an actual occasion. I have started doing that lately; just baking and bringing my friends cupcakes or cookies from a recipe I have been dying to try. It truly is satisfying. Until recently I always thought I had to have a reason, but what more reason do I need than just because I want to :)

    Reply
  • 13. Hillary D.  |  April 5, 2011 at 1:09 am

    I also bake almost every weekend and I never really knew why, but now I don’t feel so alone. To me, it’s really relaxing and you get a treat out of it you can share! I’m definitely going to make these at my dorm in the fall :)

    Reply
  • 14. Jasmine  |  April 5, 2011 at 3:54 am

    This recipe sounds great. kudos to you for overcoming the challenges of cooking in a dorm kitchen!

    Reply
  • 15. Heather H.  |  April 5, 2011 at 8:59 am

    You are right when you say that most people cook out of burden. Whether it is for a holiday, birthday, superbowl or gathering, our society tends to only cook when they have to, and not because they simply enjoy it. I admire your passion for the craft of baking and look foward to reading more of your blogs.

    Reply
  • 16. Maris (In Good Taste)  |  April 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Those are adorable!

    Reply
  • 17. sapir  |  April 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    These look amazing! I suffer from a sweet tooth that I inherited from my father and have lived wit my entire life, and frankly I can’t resist the urge to run to the store and buy some pretzals, peanut butter, and chocolate :)
    I’m going to college next year, and though the campus does offer food to it’s students (becuae it would be weird if it didn’t :P) I can’t help but feel like every once in a while I’m going to want something else, something different, something that I made. This blog is perfect for me! Thanks for writing it!

    Reply
  • 18. Alyssa Rodriguez  |  April 6, 2011 at 1:02 am

    The joy really does come from the process of creating such a magnificent piece of artwork while baking. However, it doesn’t hurt that it tastes delicious too!!

    Reply
  • [...] This recipe made about 50 pretzel sandwiches.  It could make more if you use lessing peanut butter filling in them and more chocolate. The original recipe come from 17 & Baking. [...]

    Reply
  • 20. Cookie  |  April 6, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I can hardly wait for the day you get your first cookbook published! I love your recipes and your writing skills. Your passion comes through so eloquently in your words and photos. It’s such a pleasure to read your blog.

    Reply
  • 21. Lauren  |  April 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I made these this weekend, and they were so delicious! Simple and yummy, just how i like it! Everyone loved them. Also, i used checkerboard pretzels and it was really easy to just blob some peanut butter mixture on them with a rubber spatula.

    Reply
  • 22. Pudding Pie Lane  |  April 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I have to agree, I think I spend more money buying baking ingredients than food at uni! But it’s worth it when you make these things and share them with you friends :) I love this recipe by the way, so simple, yet so good. I’ll be making this is my tiny kitchen in my halls next term! (Also I love peanut butter so no excuse not to buy it really)

    Reply
  • 23. Holden  |  April 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I love your blog! new follower, && I’ve been looking for one with posts like yours :) mind checking out my new blog?

    Holden @ SUGARbijoux

    Reply
  • [...] Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites (dipped in chocolate!) @17 and Baking [...]

    Reply
  • 25. Jaime  |  April 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    No there is absolutely NO good reason not to make these. The filling is the best I’ve tried when it comes to chocolate peanut butter treats, I think it’s the brown sugar that gives it the wow factor. Why have I never thought to mix pretzels with peanut butter and chocolate before?? Genius.

    Reply
  • 26. --kyleen--  |  April 11, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Your pictures look amazing! There’s no better combination than pretzels, chocolate and peanut butter.
    It sucks about the clafouti, though, but I understand what you mean about just enjoying the process of baking.

    Reply
  • 27. Damaris @Kitchen Corners  |  April 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I just stubled upon your blog during my break. I am a TA in the pother side of the country (California). I teach undergrads. I wish you were my student, you seem lovely and I do love me some pretzels, peanut butter, and chocolate.

    I’m sorry your initial creation didn’t work out. I went to college in MA too (Mount Holyoke College, have you ever heard of it?). College kitchens are the worst but they are the best at making memories.

    Enjoy your time.
    xoxo, Da

    Reply
  • 28. Tammy  |  April 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Wow, that looks incredible! You’ve got a fantastic site- big fan of your photography!

    xx,
    Tammy

    Reply
  • 29. Haley  |  April 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Bookmarked! I hope you don’t mind I reblogged two recipes. Let me know if you’d like me to add/edit/delete anything from the post.

    Keep up the cuteness :)

    Reply
  • 30. unknowntheartist  |  April 16, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Love, love, love. Found your post through Tara at Cest La Vie Lb. What a cute snack (or in my case breakfast, lunch and dinner, hehehe)
    Thanks for sharing your kitchen woes and your eventual triumphs!

    Reply
  • 31. donnell  |  April 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    those look yummy and so simple, great combination of flavors!!

    Reply
  • 32. Jeana  |  April 28, 2011 at 12:35 am

    I just made these to bring to class tomorrow… they are SOOOO good!! And easy too! I will definitely be making them again and again, thank you for posting this!

    Reply
  • 33. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites « Slinging Eggs and Bacon  |  April 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    [...] Recipe from 17 and Baking [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Speaking of Pretzels – Chocolate-dipped Pretzel Bites 29 Apr [...]

    Reply
  • 36. Aundrea L.  |  May 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    WOW! This looks easy to make and a great snack! Love your writing and your deserts are amazing!

    Reply
  • 37. Kellie  |  May 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Starting with nothing can be a scary thing! You stories about baking can easily relate to a wide variety of people’s lives.

    Reply
  • 38. Breeana P.  |  May 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I am not a baker, or a cook, but these are something even I can do. Who doesn’t love chocolte, peanutbutter and pretzels? Thanks for the recipe, it will become one of my college food staples. Yum!

    Reply
  • 39. Mariah  |  May 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    This caught my eye! It looks really good. I will have to try it. Thank you for doing your blog, I am starting a Vegetarian one, and after reading yours I am inspired to start one similar to yours. Any advice? Got any good recipes?

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    Reply
  • 40. Maggie G  |  May 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    “Because, let’s be real, it was a pretty stupid move on my part, but it didn’t take away any of the pleasure I got from the baking process. ”

    How wise you are.
    Maggie

    “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Reply
  • 41. kevin p  |  May 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I found this very appealing to me because the combination seems so simple yet so delicious. Seems like a great snack tha I will have to indulge in shortly.

    Reply
  • 42. Q  |  May 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for this recipe! I made them for my dorm like you suggested and they were a hit.

    Reply
  • 43. sherri lynn  |  May 26, 2011 at 11:43 am

    oh. my. goodness. These look heavenly! love your blog :)

    Reply
  • [...] butter + chocolate + salty pretzels = heaven.  And here they are in perfect harmony.  This recipe for Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites comes from an incredibly talented 19 year old who started the food [...]

    Reply
  • 45. Lynne  |  June 7, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    those are adorable! and ever so much faster to make than my shortbread pretzel peanut butter chocolate bars! i can not wait to try these! yay!

    Reply
  • 46. Shannon K  |  June 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    These look so mouth-watering and delicious! I’m waiting for my toddler to wake up from a nap so we can go buy some pretzels and make these together- yummy! Thanks! :)

    Reply
  • 47. Liv B  |  June 14, 2011 at 4:14 am

    YUM! These look so tasty. It’s my brother’s 21st coming up, so I’ll definitely be making these

    Reply
  • 48. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites « Col Panna  |  July 8, 2011 at 1:05 am

    [...] from 17 and Baking [...]

    Reply
  • 49. jenniebites  |  July 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    oh. my. gosh. despite eating copious amounts of peanut butter filling while i was putting these together, i still ended up with a ton of these little sandwiches. they are absolutely amazing! why was i never this creative in my dorm “kitchen”?

    Reply
  • 50. Elizabeth  |  July 10, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Just made these for my sons 1st birthday party. The 1, 2 ok, few that I sampled were awesome!

    Your dad’s comment made me cry. Too sweet!

    Reply

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Elissa Bernstein



I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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