Chocolate Covered Strawberry Brownies [with a salted pretzel crust]

  • Author:


  • Two boxes of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil, per the instructions on the box
  • 2 eggs, per the instructions on the box
  • 1/2 cup cooled coffee
  • 1/4 cup chocolate fudge
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 5 cups pretzels (I used the Snyder’s “butter snaps“)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 sticks of salted Kerrygold butter
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes


  • 1 cup Crisco shortening
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted Kerrygold butter, room temperature
  • 4.5-5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • The juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of Nesquik Strawberry milk, plain whole milk could be substituted if you cannot find it
  • 1 3/4 cups freeze dried strawberries, a whole 1.2oz bag
  • 32 mini chocolate covered pretzels, optional (but highly recommended)


The Salted Pretzel Crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 375. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until they are finely chopped. Some pieces will be bigger than others, but most of it will resemble sand. Combine the pretzel crumbs with the 2 sticks of melted butter, 2 tablespoons of vanilla, salt and the brown sugar. Press the crust into a parchment lined 13×9 pan. Parbake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Cool completely.

For the brownies:

  • Turn the oven down to 325. Prepare the brownie mix according to the package, substituting water for coffee. Add in 2 tablespoons of vanilla and combine. Pour on top of the cooled crust and top with the hot fudge. Take a knife and run it back and forth to create a swirl texture on top.
  • Bake for 48-50 minutes at 325. Cool completely.

Make the frosting:

  • In your food processor, pulse the freeze dried strawberries until they turn to dust. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the softened butter and crisco with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and mix on low. Add in the vanilla and strawberry milk, then mix in the strawberry “dust”. Continue mixing, while adding in the lemon juice and the remaining powdered sugar. The thickness of the frosting you want will determine the amount of powdered sugar you use. Continue mixing until smooth.

Top the brownies with the frosting. Cut into 32 brownies, and then top each one with a chocolate covered pretzel.


  • Hold your knife under hot running water before cutting the brownies. Repeat after each slice. This will ensure you get “clean” cuts, as the hot knife will cut through the butter and fudge easily.