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Chocolate Stout Cookies with Salted Caramel Frosting & Pretzels

February 1, 2012

The Super Bowl is one of my favorite “holidays” of the year. I love football, I love sitting on my butt on the couch, and I really love any excuse to stuff my face with snacky party foods.

It’s a little bit less my favorite this year, though, because I despise both teams playing in the Super Bowl. Can both teams in the Super Bowl lose? There’s a first for everything, right?

Anyway, I’ll still be stuffing my face with party foods – maybe even more than usual since I won’t be watching the game.

Chocolate Stout Cookies with Salted Caramel Frosting & Pretzels

I knew I wanted to make something sweet (duh) featuring beer (yes!) for our upcoming Super Bowl gathering with friends. At first I thought cupcakes, but then I thought cupcakes are kinda prissy for football. Plus I’ve already made Guiness and Bailey’s Irish Cream cupcakes that I’m pretty sure can’t be topped.

So then my thoughts turned to cookies. And caramel. (Still obsessed.) And let’s see… what goes with beer? Pretzels.

All in one cookie? Sure, why not! It’s the Super Bowl, after all.

(Sorry to spoil the surprise, Super Bowl friends.)

Chocolate Stout Cookies with Salted Caramel Frosting & Pretzels

These cookies are an addictive pairing of salty and sweet that I love love love. I used a double chocolate stout to make the chocolate cookies and they are indeed very chocolatey. But I didn’t stop there. Nope.

I topped those soft cake-like cookies with a luscious salted caramel frosting and some crushed salty pretzels.


It’s a salty and sweet, crunchy and soft match made in heaven.

With beer, pretzels, caramel and chocolate, these unfussy, easy-to-make cookies were born for the starting line-up at your Super Bowl party.

Chocolate Stout Cookies with Salted Caramel Frosting & Pretzels

Chocolate Stout Cookies with Salted Caramel Frosting & Pretzels

Printable Recipe
Adapted from Butter Me Up Brooklyn
Makes about 2 dozen 3-inch cookies

I used Snyder’s Butter Snaps pretzels because they’re my favorite. After trying it two different ways, I discovered it’s best to dip the frosted cookies into the crushed pretzels – that way you pick up more of the salty pretzel flavor on the cookies.

And don’t worry, the salted caramel frosting is really easy to make! It doesn’t even require a mixer.


1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon dark cocoa (such as Hershey’s Dark Cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
6 ounces stout beer (such as Young’s Double Chocolate Stout or Guinness)
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

1 batch Easy Salted Caramel Frosting (below)
1 bag of salted pretzels


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

Beat butter with sugars with a mixer using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg and beat to combine. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the beer. Beat just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.

Chill dough in the fridge for about 15 minutes, or until firm enough to scoop.

Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350°F for 15-17 minutes or until tops spring back lightly when touched. Cool on pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire wrack to cool completely.

To Assemble
Crush pretzels into small pieces in a plastic storage bag using your hands, or with a food processor. Spread pretzel crumbs out in a pie plate or on a small baking sheet.

Only frost cookies once they have cooled completely. Working with warm frosting still in the pan, spread frosting on a few cookies at a time. Dip each cookie frosting side down in the pretzel crumbs, pushing lightly to make sure they stick. Frosting will dry as it cools, so work with only a few cookies for best results.

Easy Salted Caramel Frosting

Printable Recipe
Adapted from Betty Crocker

The trick with this frosting is to not add too much powdered sugar or it will be thick, stiff, and too sweet. Add only as much as you need to make it spreadable without being runny. Leave the frosting in the warm pan as you frost the cookies to make it easier to spread. It will set up as it cools.


1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
pinch of salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + up to 4 tablespoons powdered sugar


In a medium saucepan, melt butter, salt and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil unstirred for 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately whisk in cream. (Careful! Hot caramel may spatter.) Whisk in vanilla. Cool 5-10 minutes, then stir in 1 cup powdered sugar. Whisk briskly to smooth out any lumps. If needed, add powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time (up to 4 tablespoons), whisking briskly between each addition, until frosting is firm enough that the whisk tracks don’t sink all the way back into the frosting.

Spread frosting over cooled cookies. (See instructions above.)

  1. February 1, 2012 11:21 am

    OMG!! These look stunning! What a fabulous idea!! The next time I make the cookies, I’m 100% adding that frosting and pretzels. :)

  2. February 1, 2012 2:19 pm

    These look really fun! I always see tons of football-shaped desserts this time of year, but your cookies seem “manly” without being all twee about it. lol. I love the idea of adding pretzels on top.

  3. February 1, 2012 6:16 pm

    These look beautiful. I’m not much of a beer person but I’m so excited to try this. I’ll let you know how my batch turns out. Thanks for sharing!

  4. February 1, 2012 9:50 pm

    OMG! I thought hubby would like this b/c he’s a dark beer guy, but after reading all the dark yumminess, I think I might enjoy them too! I think this may be a Valentine’s day treat for him, some delicious cookies and some Guiness! He’ll really <3 me then! thanks for sharing! Your photos are spectacular, btw.

  5. February 3, 2012 3:47 pm

    This looks amazing! I’m definitely going to try it soon. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. February 3, 2012 4:20 pm

    Oh my lord, these look great. I adore salted caramel, but have never tried anything using it – they sound fantastic.

  7. February 5, 2012 10:43 pm

    Super bowl snacks seems to be on the craze.. :) Pretzels and stout in one bite. idea!

  8. February 7, 2012 9:51 am

    Wonderful stout and chocolate combo.

  9. February 7, 2012 11:37 am

    I can think of about 10 ways to use this caramel frosting! I’m excited to try it! I’m also a sucker for pretzels. Those pretzel m&m’s are my favorite. I do not need much of an excuse at all to put pretzels on a cookie. I’m seriously thrilled that you gave me the idea!!

  10. Sara permalink
    February 7, 2012 10:15 pm

    These tasted good but they didn’t seem to turn out right. My cookies were WAY too soft – they just fall apart when you touch them. I baked them long enough so that wasn’t the problem. They were almost a cake like consistency not a cookie consistency. Any ideas what might have gone wrong? The frosting was great and that turned out good. I’m thinking of taking the left over cookies and crumbling them up with some of the frosting to make cake pops.

  11. Kelly permalink
    February 23, 2012 11:24 am

    These are delicious! They are more cake-like in texture than most cookies. I love the balance of sweet and salty!

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