Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Pretzel Shortbread Brownie Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a layered dessert made in a sheet pan. A salty pretzel shortbread crust with butter and brown sugar. There is a soft and creamy peanut butter cup filling. The whole thing is topped with a chocolate chip brownie made from melted chocolate bars and chips. Adapted from ina garten's brownie recipe. This serves a crowd and is great for a party barbecue or gathering. Recipe at

This bar has three layers that consist of a pretzel shortbread crust, a creamy peanut butter cup filling, and a rich, chocolate brownie on top. They are sweet, salty, decadent, and everything in between.


For the pretzel shortbread

  • 4 ounces (about 2 cups) salted pretzel crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter

For the peanut butter filling

  • 3/4 cup of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 11/4 cup confectioners sugar

For the brownie

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of mini chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (15″x10″x1″) with parchment paper and spray the sides with baking spray.
  2. In a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, prep the brownies. Cut up butter and chocolate into small pieces and places these in the bowl, allowing to melt while you prepare the other layers of this bar. Be sure to check in on it every couple minutes or so, stirring as needed. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Keep on the stovetop only as long as the chocolate and butter is continuing to melt.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse pretzel crumbs until they are the consistency of sand. Add the flour, brown sugar, and salt, pulsing briefly to combine. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and pulse the food processor until a dry, crumbly dough comes together. This took about 1 minute of pulsing on my machine.
  4. Pat the dough out into the prepared jelly roll pan and bake in the oven for ten minutes.
  5. While pretzel shortbread is in the oven and the chocolate and butter is melting on the stovetop, combine the peanut butter and milk in the same bowl of your food processor. (It’s not necessary to wash it out yet- hooray!) Whiz in the food processor until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners sugar and pulse until thick, dry clumps come together. This mixture will appear similar to the inside of a peanut butter cup. Set aside in another bowl.
  6. Back in the same food processor bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, and sugar for your brownie layer. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and pulse to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and mix just until combined. Remove from machine and stir half of the chocolate chips in by hand.
  7. Sprinkle clumps of the peanut butter filling evenly over the top of the shortbread crust. Pour the brownie batter over top of the shortbread and peanut butter clumps and smooth out evenly in the pan. Your pan will be full. Sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, carefully rap the pan on the rack of the oven several times to help air to escape the pan. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out with barely moist clumps on it. Do not overbake.
  9. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes and then cool completely in the fridge before slicing.