Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cupcakes

I have a lot to talk about today. Like, tons of important issues.

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First, I think we really need to discuss the winner of the Super Bowl yesterday. I am referring, of course, to BEYONCÉ. Oh my goodness, girl – sorry, I mean Sasha Fierce – KILLED it out there yesterday! Honestly, I was won over within the first 10 seconds of her act (I’m not really a hard sell), when she managed to stay standing in her skyscraper heels on that tiny platform . . . which, oh, right, was also moving. During that time, I tried to picture myself in Beyoncé shoes. Every scenario ended with me toppling over onto the ground. Which is why the organizers of the Super Bowl will never ask me to perform (because, clearly, I possess the necessary talent).

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But in addition to Beyoncé’s extreme skill at standing, there was also holographic Beyoncé, and ripping-her-clothes-off Beyoncé, and, of course, this very highly anticipated reunion: Beyoncé and her live singing voice. Ooh, sorry, that was low of me. No, of course, I’m talking about the reunion of Destiny’s Child(!), which occurred for about a minute. But oh, what a beautiful minute.

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Okay, do you guys understand my feelings on the half-time show? K. Good. Then I can move on to another pressing question: Why are all my cupcakes NAKED (without wrappers) today? It is definitely not due to the fact that I ran out of all cupcake liners except for these wondrous sporty ones:

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Now that that issue has been settled, we can finally discuss these Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cupcakes. Like, what? Where are the pretzels? Inside, outside, all around? Are they cupcakes or pretzels?

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Well, my lovely readers, I have the quite the story for you. It all started about two weeks ago, when I first visited a little restaurant called Hopdoddy Burger Bar  with my awesome foodie friend Vivian. She had raved to me about their burgers and shakes, but I didn’t believe that the food could live up to the reviews. That is, until I took a bite of their Buffalo Bill burger. There was blue cheese. And hot sauce. And bacon, and something they call “Sassy Sauce,” all on perfectly cooked bison on this great greasy bun and it. Was. Perfection.

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BUT. There was something else jonesing for the “Best of the Night” Award, and oh boy, I think it won. I am talking about my Nutella & Chocolate Pretzel shake. Oh yes, you read that right. Chocolate hazelnutty goodness mixed with chocolate-covered pretzels and ice cream and milk and MAGIC. It must have been magic, because these pretzels were . . . crispy. As in, NOT soggy. Even though they were in a drink. What could this magic be? I decided that the chocolate covering had somehow protected the pretzels (umm please someone give me a protective layer of chocolate), and decided that I needed to immediately duplicate this effect in my kitchen.

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So, off I went, throwing bits of chocolate covered pretzel right into my cupcake batter. Twenty-five minutes later, I threw open the oven, grabbed the tray of cupcakes, and bit right into . . . a soggy pretzel. Blargh. And then I realized that the oven had probably melted the chocolate right off the pretzel, leaving the poor thing with absolutely no protection. So, instead, I decided to put a layer of chocolate covered pretzels right on top of the cupcakes, then topped them with delicious rich chocolate buttercream frosting. Umm, hope you guys don’t mind (this amazing chocolatey goodness)!

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Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cupcakes

Yield: Approximately 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

1)   2 cups all-purpose flour

2)   1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

3)   1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4)   ¼ teaspoon baking powder

5)   ¼ teaspoon salt

6)   1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

7)   2 cups sugar

8)   3 eggs

9)   1 teaspoon vanilla extract

10) 1 ½ cups freshly brewed hot coffee

11)  ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Topping & Frosting

1)   2 cups pretzels, broken into small pieces

2)   2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

3)   2 ½ cups powdered sugar

4)   1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

5)   1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

6)   Approximately 4 tablespoons whipping cream

Instructions

Cupcakes

1)   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

2)   In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a separate, large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each egg. Then, beat in vanilla, coffee, and Greek yogurt. Mix in the dry mixture a little at a time.

3)   Pour batter into prepared cups, about ¾ of the way full for each cupcake. Bake about 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Topping  & Frosting

1)   When cupcakes are cool, cover the top with a layer of melted chocolate, then place a layer of pretzel bits on top. Refrigerate/freeze until chocolate is set. Cover pretzel layer with a second layer of melted chocolate and refrigerate again.

2)   For frosting: In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat butter in a mixing bowl until creamy, then gradually add in powdered sugar and cocoa mixture. Add in whipping cream until frosting reaches desired consistency (about 3-5 tablespoons). Finally, pipe the chocolate frosting on top of the pretzel layer and enjoy!

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