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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Substituting Pretzels for Part of the Nuts in Baked Goods

So, I had heard of this years ago but never tried it until last weekend. I didn't have enough mixed nuts for some caramel nutty bars, so I used broken pretzel sticks for about 1/3 of the nuts called for in the recipe.

The above are bar cookies: a shortbread cookie base topped with mixed nuts and pretzel halves in a caramel sauce. I baked them the day before Father's Day and covered with plastic wrap overnight. The next afternoon, the pretzels were still crunchy, despite the fact that I live in a somewhat humid climate. I don't know if they'd keep their crunch for an extended period (week or more), or if pretzels would stay crunchy in a drop cookie dough or other dough where they'd be surrounded by a wetter mixture while baking. But they worked great in this application. The cookies were delicious. Everyone thought that the addition of pretzels was actually a bonus and not second choice.

Have you ever tried substitution broken pretzels for nuts in cookies or other baked goods? What was your opinion?


  1. I could see where adding a salty pretzel to the mix would be good. Salty caramel is all the rage these days. However, as you suggested, there could be a texture problem if the pretzels weren't on top. Do you have anything in mind that you might test that on?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I think I could have added even more pretzels and liked the flavor. As you said, salted caramel is hot right now. I've heard that some folks use broken pretzels instead of nuts in traditional drop chocolate chip cookies. I'll give it a try soon and let you know what happens to the texture.
      Have you ever had a jello dessert that uses a pretzel crust? I've had it once and don't recall the pretzels being soggy.

  2. Those look yummy, Lili. I haven't used pretzels, and agree with Live and Learn and you that there might be textural issues in some uses. But we've experimented a lot in the past couple of years with puffed brown rice cereal used in place of bread crumbs (for dietary and logistical reasons), either crushed or ground in the blender, and slightly crushed or whole in snack bars (like granola bars or rice crispy treats). They have their pros and cons for various uses, but overall we've found them to be a cheap and convenient addition to a number of recipes.

    Hope all the graduation festivities and Father's Day were great. (I"m just in from out-of-town and haven't read the older posts.) Love, Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      The puffed brown rice is such a good suggestion for cereal bars. Puffed rice or wheat would be good substituted in rice crispy treats, and cost a lot less than rice crispy cereal. Thanks for sharing that.
      I hope you had a good trip and are getting back to routine!

  3. Just looking at the pic I see a glossy something on top which tells me that would protect the pretzel from getting soggy. I'm guessing it would stay crunchy. That sure looks good and I would love a bite of that right now!


    1. Hi Alice,
      These bars were so delicious. To me, they were as much of a treat as a candy bar. You're right, the glossy surface was a caramel. Good eyes!

  4. Ooh, that looks tasty! Is the top in a corn syrup/sugar mixture? Our climate can also be humid but I have used that mixture for other cookie bars with rice crispies and it seems to keep them from getting soggy. To answer your question, I don't remember if I've substituted pretzels for nuts before but it should work fine--it looks like there are still a lot of nuts. Maybe you can share the recipe with us. :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      The topping calls for honey, brown sugar, butter, and cream cooked in a saucepan on the stove. I used corn syrup, molasses, white sugar, butter, and 2% milk, as those were the closest ingredients that I had. Very delicious and didn't seem to matter one iota that I didn't have the recipe's ingredients. I'll post the recipe soon. I was thinking, this might also be very good using a mix of pretzels and peanuts. Dollar Tree sells jars of peanuts for $1, much cheaper than mixed nuts.


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