It’s about time I got some chocolate on this blog. And what better way to do it than with fudgey, chewy, brownie bites topped with pretzel M&Ms. These little guys are pretty much a combination of everything I love: chocolate, miniature things, salty/sweet tastes, and brownie edges.
In the brownie edge vs. center debate, I’m definitely Team Edge. I was something of a brownie baking queen in high school (thank goodness that nickname didn’t stick). In fact, I received this pan as a present once, and was immediately hooked. But here’s the thing: there’s a big difference between a chewy, crispy, brownie edge and a dry, tasteless brownie. There really is nothing worse than a dry brownie, and it’s hard to get the consistency just right when you’re working with mini muffins. In my iterations of this recipe I ran past quite a few of these unhappily dry brownies, but did learn that they can be saved, for the most part, by putting them in the freezer and eating them frozen. Best or worst discovery ever? I haven’t decided yet.
The other thing I love about these brownies? Pretzel M&Ms. I love salty sweet things. It’s the best combination in my opinion. I’ve never been able to successfully bake pretzels into brownies without them losing their crisp texture, but the candy coating on the M&Ms does the trick perfectly.
Okay, so we need to address one more thing. Why, if there’s a perfectly good box full of brownie mix, would you ever bother to make them from scratch? I’m all for brownie mixes for the everyday brownie, but I wanted something a little more special with these. If you try these, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how quickly everything comes together. I know I was impressed that it really didn’t take much longer than my normal box mix. Plus, with an 8 minute baking time, you’ll be ready for chewy brownie bites before you know it.
I used a basic homemade brownie recipe, and replaced the melted butter with vegetable oil like most box mixes. Using brown sugar in addition to regular granulated white sugar gives it a little extra richness from the molasses in the brown sugar. I used regular cocoa powder here to get a rich chocolate flavor, but I imagine you could also use dark chocolate cocoa powder if you prefer the taste, or add chocolate chips or nuts for some extra goodness!
Since they’re already individually portioned, these would be the perfect desserts to bring to a party. This recipe makes a small batch – just 12 brownies, but you could easily double the recipe if you don’t mind the extras calling your name from the kitchen!
Mini Pretzel M&M Brownies
Cook time: 8 minutes; Total time: 20 minutes
Makes 12 mini brownies.
Adapted from: Cookies and Cream Brownie Bites
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar*
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
12 pretzel M&Ms (a single serving pack should have as many as you need)
Sea salt for topping, optional
*If you don’t want to use two different kinds of sugar, replace with an equal amount of white sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350℉ and spray mini muffin pans with cooking spray.
Stir together oil and sugars until combined and any brown sugar lumps are gone (I popped mine in the microwave for a few seconds since my brown sugar was a little hard). Stir in the egg, vanilla extract, water, and salt. Slowly add flour and stir until all ingredients are combined.
Divide batter between mini muffins cups (they’ll be about ½-⅔ full). Place an M&M on each brownie, and sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt, if desired. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (a few crumbs can stick). Let them cool in the pan, then remove carefully by running a knife around the outside of the brownies.
Store them in an airtight container to keep them moist and chewy.