Salty-Sweet Chocolate Pretzel Shortbread

If you had to choose, would you go with salty or sweet?  I’m in with both, a fact that is made evident with this irresistible chocolate pretzel shortbread recipe.  The dough has that salty, pretzel-nugget goodness, and the white chocolate topping balances the treat out perfectly.

The little pretzel nuggets hiding inside these cookies are actual pretzel crackers, ground up in a food processor and added to the dough. And speaking of the dough, this one can get rather sticky, so it’s best if you keep it chilled, and roll it out in saran wrap.  Those two little steps will make this recipe about ten times easier! (You can thank us by sending us a box of these cookies.)Salty-Sweet Chocolate Pretzel Shortbread

I used scalloped square and circle cutters purchased from Ateco. I’m mildly obsessed with their products, as I find them both durable and practical. I use them for so much more than cookies. They’re my go-to for fondant, biscuits, marshmallows and more!

Salty-Sweet Chocolate Pretzel ShortbreadTopping choices? Well, they’re endless, really.  I used crushed pretzels along with mini butterscotch and chocolate chips.  I modified this recipe from my favorite cookie gal-guru, Mindy Segal of Cookie Love.

These are best eaten right away.  Sadly, if you freeze them, the pretzel nuggets get stale.  But truth be told, I’ve never had any trouble making these disappear. Usually, I end up wishing I had made more.

So, if you love salt and sweet like I do, you’re going to love these chocolate pretzel shortbread cookies. Trust me. (And now, about that box of cookies you’re going to send…)

Adapted Recipe Credits: Mindy Segal, Cookie Love

Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography

Chocolate Pretzel Shortbread Cookies

By TheSweetNerd  

March 21, 2017

  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins



2 cups sourdough pretzel nuggets

2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (13 ounces) at room temperature

1 ¼ cup confectioners sugar, sifted

2 extra large egg yolks at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


White Chocolate

High quality white melting chocolate

Mini chips, butterscotch and chocolate chip

Pretzels, crushed



1In a food processor, grind the pretzel nuggets until they resemble bread crumbs, but stop before they become a powder. Pulse in the flour, cocoa, and salts.

2In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium speed for 10 seconds. Add the sugar and mix on low speed to incorporate. Increase the speed to medium to cream the butter sugar mixture until it is aerated and looks like frosting, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.

3Put the yolks in a small cup or bowl and add the vanilla.

4On medium speed, add the yolks one at a time, mixing briefly until the batter resembles cottage cheese, approximately 5 seconds per yolk. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl together. Mix on medium speed for 20-30 seconds to make nearly homogenous.

5Add the pretzel-flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together but still looks shaggy, about 30 seconds. Do not over mix. Remove from bowl and form together with your hands. Divide dough in half and saran wrap. Place in refrigerator. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

6Remove chilled dough. Let is sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before you roll it out to prevent cracking (cool to touch still). Roll out dough between 2 sheets of saran or parchment paper until about 1/4" thick. Poke dough with fork and using a cutter, punch out cookies. Place on cookie tray and place back in freezer for 10 minutes until set.

7Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Then rotate pan, and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until the cookies feel firm and hold their shape when touched. Cool completely.


1Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 10-15 second intervals until smooth. Drizzle the chocolate on each cookie and add in pretzel chunks with chocolate or butterscotch chips.



  • There’s no better satisfaction than when you mix sweet with salty. Looks delicious!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Thanks Lorna! I am a complete sucker for salty sweet. I love it.

  • These are so pretty!! And I love the idea of chocolate shortbread with pretzels. That salty-sweet combination is perfect 🙂

  • Rose Marie
    7 years ago

    Thank you for not making me choose between salty and sweet!! These are gorgeous! You make it all look so easy, too! Wow! Thank you @thesweetnerd

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      You are quite welcome Rose Marie! I tell ya, the day to day choice around here are tough. Hee Hee.

  • Kendall
    7 years ago

    I’m ALWAYS searching for that perfect sweet and salty combination! I love pretzel and chocolate independent of each other and this blows my mind to put them together! Yum!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Mind-blowing is always a thing us bakers try to maximize, and add sugar, voila! You are set Kendall. Thanks for the sweet comments. Love it.

  • How could I possibly choose between salty and sweet?? I LOVE salty/sweet combos. It’s kinda my jam so you know that I’m totally lovin’ these cookies! Plus, shortbread? One of my ultimate faves….so buttery and delicious. I’ll take a dozen please 😉

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      I love how you roll sista! Jam’in with salt and sweet is always the way to go. Dozen, on the way!

  • I’m in love with both too Cindy! And these are totally up my alley because I’m a sucker for shortbread!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Me too Mary Ann. I loved loved loved your lemon lavender shortbread cookies. HEAVEN.

  • I LOVE putting pretzel crisps into cookies! Pairing them with chocolate shortbread is even more genius! They would go together so well.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Thanks Meg. My kids are major pretzel lovers so this one was a no-brainer for happy kids, happy mom!

  • I’m a big fan of sweet and salty desserts 🙂

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Thanks Maryanne. I am too! I am also a big fan of your lovely incredible cakes. Keep ’em coming!

  • 7 years ago

    My husband is a pretzel lover. We bring peanut butter pretzels to put into our s’mores when we go camping, but this is taking it up a notch. Can’t wait to try this one out. Thanks Cindy!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      7 years ago

      Oh I love pretzels too. That sounds like a fun camping trip! These are sure to elevate that to glamping.

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