Junk Food Cupcakes: Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Pretzel and Potato Chip Topping

Have you ever tried Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Snack ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s? It’s basically amazing, and my favorite part is that it is chock full of chocolate covered potato chips, which is genius. Sometimes I crave the salty and sweet combination, and one night while eating it here I decided that the sweet and savory, salty and chocolate, needed to exist in a cupcake. So I put together this combination, which can actually be made with almost any combo of salty and sweet items. I happened to have on hand pretzels and potato chips and chocolate chips (don’t judge), and went with that for this first iteration. 🙂

potato chips and pretzels!

It’s important to know that most savory ingredients you add are not going to hold up in the baking, and won’t be the crunchy taste you may be expecting, but it will infuse the cupcake with their flavor. I decided to experiment with adding the pretzels to the cupcake batter, and added it in a few different ways. I crushed the pretzels up with the bottom of a bowl, and then tried first tossing a handful of the crushed pretzels onto the top of the cupcakes, and then for the rest mixed it directly into the batter. I preferred the latter, mixing it directly into the batter, and the instructions below include that.

two with pretzels

I would love to try this combination again, adding butterscotch chips instead of chocolate chips (so good!), and maybe even adding some salted caramel on top. The possibilities are endless! I would love hear what flavor combinations you all come up with, and I hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cupcakes

Cupcake recipe adapted from the ultimate chocolate cupcake by Cupcake Project

Makes approximately 18 cupcakes

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 ounces of  dark chocolate
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain full fat yogurt (you can also use the same amount of full-fat sour cream or a mix of the two to equal 1/3 cup)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tesp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup room temperature brewed coffee
1 cup crushed pretzels
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 fahrenheit / 180 celsius. Fill cupcake pans with 18 liners.

Using a microwave or a metal bowl placed over a pot of boiling water, melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is fully melted and there are no lumps remaining, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

While the chocolate is cooling, in a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fully combined. Once the chocolate is cool to touch, mix in with the butter and sugar until just combined. Next, mix in the eggs and egg yolks, one after another, mixing between each one until just combined.

Next add the oil, vanilla extract, and yogurt, and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, sift and then whisk together the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three separate additions, mixing until the flour mixture is just combined.

Once all of the dry ingredients have been mixed with the wet ingredients, add the coffee and mix the entire batter together once more. In a small separate bowl, dust the crushed pretzels and the chocolate chips in a bit of flour, which prevents them from sinking in the batter, and then add them to the mix and stir.

Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full with batter, and place in the oven.

Cupcakes should bake between 18-22 minutes. At 18 minutes check the cupcakes and stick a toothpick or skewer in the top to check for doneness – the cupcakes are finished once the toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven once done, and careful with burning your hands, remove each cupcake from the pan and place on wire racks to cool. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the chocolate frosting recipe below and then add toppings.


Chocolate Frosting

Adapted from Lauren’s Latest

1 cup (226 g) butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk

In a bowl with a hand mixer, or using the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and cocoa powder until thoroughly mixed. Add the vanilla, and beat again. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating between each cup until mixed. Add up to five cups of powdered sugar, and if you find that the frosting isn’t smooth enough, add the milk one tablespoon at a time, beating between each addition, until you achieve the desired consistency.

so many delicious cupcakes

To assemble

Frost each cupcake with a cupcake frosting tool, or using a spoon. I then crushed some pretzels and potato chips separately using the bottom of a bowl, and added them to the cupcakes – I tried to keep it at first like on the rim of the cupcake, but that proved difficult, and I figured, the more potato chips and pretzels on a cupcake, the better. 🙂 So then I started indiscriminately sprinkling it all over. Top with a pretzel or a potato chip, and serve the same day. The pretzels and potato chips will get soggy if you don’t consume within the first day, but these cupcakes are so good that shouldn’t be a problem! Enjoy!


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