chocolate pretzel tart


I’ve partnered with HERSHEY to create this intensely bittersweet glazed chocolate ganache tart on a salty, crunchy pretzel crust. Chocolate lovers, this one’s for you!


It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging about baking and desserts for almost five years. It’s been quite the journey, growing this blog from something that I started as a side hobby into my very own small business.

However, as much as I love my blog, I sometimes get into a funk where the things that I enjoy so much–baking, photography, writing—feel more like work. It’s easy to fall into a trap where I get stressed about my social media numbers and try to keep up with all the fast-moving trends.

So every so often, I need to stop, take a deep breath, and remove myself from all those stresses by baking something just for myself without worrying about all of all that. And when I do, all those memories and stories come flooding back, and I'm reminded of why I started baking in the first place:


A Brief History of Why I Bake:

- Sophomore Year of College, Portland, Oregon, 2007. My friend Leah and I were procrastinating on our homework and wanted cupcakes. We drove up to the grocery store and were unimpressed by how sad their cupcakes look in the supermarket display cases. We came up with the half-baked idea to make cupcakes ourselves, and loaded up our cart with all the baking gear we can find: a $20 hand mixer, an aluminum foil muffin tin, a box of cake mix. It was a half-baked operation: we forgot measuring cups and eyeballed the oil needed for the recipe using a grubby pint glass. We made a huge and loud mess in the tiny dorm kitchen and annoyed all my fellow dorm mates. However, all was forgiven when we handed out the still-warm, slightly-lopsided (but very delicious) cupcakes.

- My First Real Job Out of College, San Francisco, CA, 2010. I remember feeling lost in a new city and feeling broke with my entry level salary and my comically high rent. Unable to afford to do anything I want, I figured that baking for myself would be a fun and marginally cheap hobby. I eventually graduated from box mixes to making things from scratch. I started with giving the final products to my roommate and our neighbor next door. Soon, people flitted in and out of the apartment, making requests for birthday cakes and certain recipe favorites. I happily obliged.

- The Hummingbird Bakery, London, 2011. Visited one of my best friends in London. He takes me to a bakery that he says reminds him of me. We bought a box of cupcakes and he shoved their cookbook, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, into my hands. "Here," he said. "This book makes people better bakers." I'm reminded of him every time I bake from the book, somewhat making up for the fact that he lives an entire ocean away.

- The Terrible Finance Job That I Hated, Denver, CO, 2011. In another new place. I found myself working a horrible job that makes me cry almost every night and decided to bake my favorite cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. Was mortified to find that the recipe, one I've made so many times that I know all the steps by heart, resulted in a muffin tin full of sticky puddles of batter. Eventually discovered that high-altitude baking is a completely different game. Decide to explore it more by trying to adapt all my favorite recipes to work at high altitude. Start to record all my discoveries using this blog. Found support from strangers and readers from all around the world.


Over the last few years, I've realized that baking has the power to make others happy, and to bring back memories of the people and places I love. For me, blogging is about connecting with people who love baking—whether it's the process, or the final products—as much as I do. So have a slice of this chocolate pretzel tart filled with a rich, deep and dark chocolate ganache and a salty pretzel crust, and know that you're a big part of what inspires me to bake!!!


Some baker's notes:
  • No rectangular tart pan? No worries, the recipe also works with a standard 9-inch round pan. No need to alter the recipe! Both the pretzel crust and chocolate ganache filling will make slightly more than what's needed for the pan; if you have mini tartlet pans, now is a good time to use it!

  • It's rare that my recipes can be easily converted to gluten-free ones, but this one works like gangbusters! All you need to do is use gluten-free pretzels instead of regular ones, and you've automatically got a gluten-free dessert!

Thanks to HERSHEY for sponsoring this post by providing the compensation and ingredients to make it happen! I'm one of the bloggers participating in Hershey's Bake Happy Challenge, where we'll be spending the next few months sharing our best recipes, tips, tricks, and anything to encourage all you lovely folks to bake. Learn more about it on my Facebook page (and participate in a giveaway!), and thanks again for supporting Hummingbird High and all my wonderful sponsors!


Chocolate Pretzel Tart

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Ingredients

Special Equipment:
For the Pretzel Crust:
(makes slightly more than what's needed for the 14 x 5-inch tart pan)
  • 7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces) unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4.25 ounces) finely ground pretzel crumbs (use the food processor for to make crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Chocolate Ganache Filling:
(makes slightly more than what's needed for the 14 x 5-inch tart pan)

For the Chocolate Glaze and Pretzel Topping:
(makes slightly more than what’s needed for the 14 x 5-inch tart pan)

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Recipe

For the Pretzel Crust:
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F).

  2. Place 7 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium, heavy-bottomed light-colored pan over medium-low heat. Cook until the butter melts and begins to foam, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure that it melts evenly. The butter’s color will turn from a lemon yellow to a golden tan before finally reaching a toasty brown. Once the butter reaches this color, it should emit a nutty aroma. Remove pan from heat and set aside on a wire rack to cool slightly.

  3. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely ground pretzel crumbs, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and the browned butter (from the 2nd step) until combined. You should get a mixture that has a “wet sand” texture that comes together when pressed, but is loose and clumpy otherwise.

  4. Use your fingers and the back of your hands to press the mixture evenly onto the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Don’t worry if you have crumbs leftover — the recipe makes extra. Save for mini tartlets, or sprinkle on the top of the tart when finished.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling with the chocolate ganache filling. The tart will stay fresh tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 24 hours. However, if making the filling and completing the tart on the same day, leave the oven on.

For the Chocolate Ganache Filling:
  1. In a medium, heatproof bowl, combine 5 ounces finely chopped HERSHEY’S semi-sweet chocolate baking bar and 4 ounces finely chopped HERSHEY’S unsweetened chocolate baking bar. Set aside.

  2. Bring 1 1/4 cups heavy cream to just a boil in a sauce pan over medium heat, removing the pan from the heat once the edges have bubbled and the cream has started steaming but hasn’t boiled over. Immediately remove from heat and pour the cream over the chocolate (from the 1st step). Let stand for 5 minutes, before using a rubber spatula to gently stir the chocolate into the cream to create a smooth, shiny, and chocolate-colored mixture.

  3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Once the ingredients are well combined, pour into the chocolate mixture (from the 2nd step) while stirring. Continue whisking until well combined.

  4. Once the mixture is combined, use a rubber spatula to help pour the mixture into the cooled crust, spreading the chocolate evenly over the cooled tart base and smoothing the top with the spatula. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is set about 3 inches from the edge but the center is still wobbly (the center will continue to set as the tart cools). Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before making the chocolate glaze.

For the Chocolate Glaze:
  1. Decorate your tart by garnishing with pretzels in the pattern or design of your choice. There’s no need to press the pretzels into the chocolate filling — just lightly place them as a garnish. Once you’ve laid them on top of the tart, make the chocolate glaze.

  2. Bring 2 tablespoons heavy cream to just a boil in a sauce pan over medium heat, removing the pan from the heat once the edges have bubbled and the cream has started steaming but hasn’t boiled over. Immediately remove from heat and stir in 1 3/4 ounces HERSHEY'S semi-sweet chocolate baking bar until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon corn syrup, followed by 1 tablespoon warm water. Continue mixing together until the consistency is even.

  3. Once the consistency is even, carefully pour the glaze over the tart and pretzels to create a shiny finish for the chocolate tart. Enjoy!

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