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I’ve already told you all about how Pretzel Sparklers are traditionally my favorite 4th of July treat. I’ve munched on them by the pool every Independence Day for almost 15 years in a row, and this year will be no exception.
But tomorrow I’m shaking things up a little.
Sitting pretty next to the traditional Pretzel Sparklers will be these:
They’re sweet, salty, patriotic, and over-the-top. Just the way I like ’em.
They’re Pretzel Sparkler Cupcakes!
And they’re perfect for the Fourth.
I adapted the recipe from Georgetown Cupcake’s Vanilla Bean Cupcakes, swirled a variation of their white chocolate buttercream (from this cookbook) on top, added a salty pretzel crust, and rolled the edges in extra crushed pretzels. Then I made a batch of cute baby pretzel sparklers to garnish them. Instead of using the giant pretzel rods, I bought a bag of mini pretzel sticks, dipped each one in melted vanilla almond bark just like their parents, and covered them in festive blue sprinkles. Voila, baby pretzel sparklers!
The pretzel sticks are quite a bit smaller than the pretzel rods, and I thought they were the perfect size.
I found the patriotic polka-dot liners in a bulk variety pack at Hobby Lobby a few months ago, and I’ve been saving them until now. I think they pair well with the blue sprinkles on the mini sparklers, but anything with red or blue will work great! Go all out and get into the Independence Day spirit. These cupcakes are not subtle.
These were super fun to create, and I can’t wait to see how they go over tomorrow! I’ll be feasting on brunch with the fam and then spending the afternoon in the pool before the fireworks start at night…and just maybe there will be a few of the real sparklers around, too!
Have a wonderful 4th of July! We Americans are very lucky to have all the freedoms that we do and, if you ask me, our independence definitely warrants cupcakes to celebrate. :)
- 1 1/2 cups pretzels, crushed
- 5 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 20 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. milk
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 24 pretzel sticks
- 2 oz. vanilla almond bark (about 2 squares)
- Sprinkles of choice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a microwave-safe dish, microwave butter until melted, about 10 seconds. Add crushed pretzels and sugar; mix well. Place about a tablespoon into each cupcake liner, dividing evenly among 24 cupcake liners. Press down using the back of a spoon or the bottom of a glass.
- Bake for 5 minutes; remove pans from oven.
- In a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs one at a time until combined.
- Add vanilla and vanilla bean seeds to milk.
- Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat with stand mixer until well combined. Add 1/3 of the milk and mix thoroughly. Repeat with remaining ingredients, scraping bowl as needed.
- Pour batter over pretzel crusts in prepared pans and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool pans completely on a wire rack.
- Fill a saucepan with an inch or two of boiling water. Place a glass bowl over the pot and melt chocolate chips until smooth. Let cool.
- Combine all ingredients, including cooled melted chocolate, in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat at high speed for several minutes until light and airy.
- Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
- Prepare a sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface.
- In a small, narrow, microwave-safe dish, melt almond bark for 30 seconds and stir. Continue microwaving at 10-second intervals and stirring until completely smooth.
- Dip pretzels 3/4 of the way into melted almond bark. Immediately coat in sprinkles of choice and set on waxed paper to harden.
- Insert pretzel "sparklers" into frosted cupcakes for garnish. Roll edges of frosting in additional crushed pretzels if desired.