Gluten-Free Caramel Pretzel Brownies – Fudgy, chewy gluten-free brownies with caramel sauce and salty pretzels. They’re a texture & flavor wonder!
In almost 15 years of creating recipes, I’ve found that inspiration can come from basically anywhere–a great restaurant, fresh produce at a farmer’s market, a moment in a movie, the weather, etc. This recipe was inspired by…snacks.
My kids and I were munching pretzels one afternoon recently when I thought, “what if I put pretzels in brownies?” Which led to, “ooh! Brownies + pretzels…yum…I’ve been working on caramel recipes lately…what if I added caramel too!?” And friend, our caramel pretzel brownies recipe is even better than I imagined.
These gluten-free pretzel brownies are the perfect marriage of textures & flavors. Chewy, fudgy brownies, gooey caramel sauce, and crispy, crunchy, salty gluten-free pretzels. YUM!
I love that they incorporate so many goodies, and they feel fun, special, and different without being too fussy. Here’s all you need to make gluten-free caramel pretzel brownies…
Here’s What You Need To Make This Gluten-Free Brownie Recipe:
- A Quick Caramel Sauce. This is a thicker version of our easy caramel sauce. The thicker texture is perfect for making gooey puddles in the brownies.
- Butter. Always my favorite base for a brownie recipe!
- Chocolate Chips. We use a double dose of chocolate chips–we melt some for the brownie itself, then stir in a few extra chocolate chips at the end. The texture is GLORIOUS.
- Sugar & Brown Sugar. This blend gives the brownies amazing texture and helps get that shiny, gorgeous top to the brownies.
- Eggs & Egg Yolk. One trick for the best texture in brownies is an extra egg yolk. It adds a fudgy chewiness that’s perfect every time. (Learn how to separate eggs here!)
- Vanilla. Plenty of vanilla extract helps play up the chocolate in the brownies and the vanilla notes in the caramel sauce. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
- Gluten-Free Flour. To keep things simple, we’re using a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. Our favorite is this measure for measure flour from King Arthur Baking. Make sure to weigh or at least scoop and level the flour so you don’t accidentally add too much. (Too much flour changes the texture and moisture of the brownies)
- Cocoa Powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder adds so much intense chocolate flavor to brownies. In this recipe I prefer using natural cocoa powder, rather than Dutch-processed cocoa. The flavor works better with the caramel and pretzels for me!
- Kosher Salt. Just enough to balance the flavors.
- Gluten-Free Pretzels. Last, but not least, we’ll place gluten-free pretzels all along the surface of the brownies, over swirls of caramel sauce. They add a delightful salty, crispy finish to the fudgy chocolate brownies and caramel sauce.
How To Make Caramel Pretzel Brownies, Step By Step:
- First, Make The Caramel Sauce. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan. Stir until just combined, then wipe down any stray sugar granules on the side of the pan. WITHOUT STIRRING, bring the sugar mixture to a boil and boil 8-10 minutes, or until the sugar mixture reaches a deep amber color. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter, then the cream, vanilla, and salt. Stir until smooth, then cool. (The caramel sauce will thicken and turn more opaque as it cools.) Caramel can be made 3-4 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
- Preheat The Oven & Prep The Pan. When you’re ready to make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line Line a square 8-inch metal pan with parchment paper.
- Melt Chocolate & Butter. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and 2/3 cup chocolate chips. Gently melt in 20-30 second increments, until the chocolate mixture is smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients. (You don’t want the chocolate to be too hot when you add it to the eggs.)
- Combine Sugars & Eggs. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk for at least 2-3 minutes (or whip with a hand mixer) until the mixture has lightened in color and the sugar has dissolved. (Dissolving the sugar helps give the brownies a glossy top.)
- Add Chocolate Mixture To Egg Mixture. Gradually mix the melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture until it’s smooth.
- Add Dry Ingredients. Then, add gluten-free flour blend, cocoa powder, and salt to the wet ingredients. Gently stir until just a little powder remains.
- Fold In Chocolate Chips. Pour in the second 2/3 cup chocolate chips and fold in just until the brownie batter is fully combined and the chocolate chips are evenly distributed in the batter.
- Layer The Brownie Batter And Caramel. Add half of the brownie batter to your prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Dollop about 1/3 of the caramel sauce in small blobs across the surface of the brownie batter. Use the tip of a butter knife or a toothpick to gently swirl the caramel (less is more here!). Repeat by adding the second half of the brownie batter. Top with another 1/3 of the caramel sauce in dollops and swirl in.
- Top With Pretzels. Add the gluten-free pretzels to the top of the caramel swirled brownies.
- Bake & Cool The Brownies. Then, bake the brownies 30-33 minutes, or until almost set. (The brownies will continue to set as they cool.) Note that as the brownies cool, the caramel swirls will become more obvious. Cool the brownies completely before slicing into 9 large squares, 12 medium rectangles or 16 small squares.
- Serve With More Caramel Sauce. Drizzle or dollop the additional caramel sauce on the brownies to serve, as desired.
First Time Making Caramel? No Worries.
If you’re worried about making your own caramel sauce, I get it! But our easy caramel sauce takes a lot of the fuss and guesswork out of making your own caramel. This tutorial will walk you through every single step. There are step-by-step photos, instructions, and a video to help you along!
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Gluten-Free Caramel Pretzel Brownies
Are Pretzels Gluten-Free? Most pretzels are NOT gluten-free. You must buy certified gluten-free pretzels. We love the Snyder’s gluten-free pretzels, but you can also use Quinn Snacks, Glutino, or other gluten-free pretzels.
Can I Make These With Store-Bought Caramel Sauce? I do recommend our homemade sauce whenever possible, but you could probably use store-bought caramel if you need to. Just be sure you use a thick caramel sauce, or it’ll just dissolve into the brownie batter during cooking.
Tricks For Swirling The Caramel Into The Brownies.
- First, cooled caramel will swirl better than hot or warm caramel, so really let the caramel cool before starting.
- I love using a small cookie scoop to add little dollops of caramel across the surface of the brownies.
- Fewer, larger blobs work better than more small dollops, as it helps create little pockets of caramel.
- Then, just use a thin knife or a toothpick to make a few little figure 8 shapes.
- Try NOT to over-swirl here, as we want larger pockets and swirls of caramel. Swirling too much will make the caramel sort of melt into the surface rather than creating swirls and pockets.