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Chocolate Pretzels

A sprinkle of coarse sanding sugar is the embellishment on these sweet versions of the salty snack.

  • Yield: Makes 2 dozen
Chocolate Pretzels

Source: Holiday Cookies 2005, December 2005


  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon good-quality instant espresso powder
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Stir cocoa and espresso powders into the boiling water in a small bowl until dissolved; set aside. Meanwhile, put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until creamy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Reduce speed to medium-low. Mix in egg, then cocoa mixture. Gradually add flour, and mix until a smooth dough forms. Turn out onto a piece of plastic; pat into a square. Wrap dough, and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.

  2. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll into balls. Shape balls into 12-inch-long ropes. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Brush cookies with egg wash; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until dry, about 35 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Cook's Note

Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

Reviews (31)

  • lucerobarry 19 Dec, 2014

    These are super cute to look at. No flavor at all. They tasted like they needed a lot more sugar. I am not a sweet person and like dry unsweet things but blah. In the compost they go!

  • Lisa Falk 3 Feb, 2013

    These are absolutely horrible. So far everything all the Martha Stewart recipes I have tried have been very good, not this one, they went right in the garbage.

  • BetsyFrenchie 12 Dec, 2011

    these cookies are great. Not too sweet, has a satisfying crumble. I think they are very cute!

  • barb07 29 Mar, 2010

    These cookies are fun and flavourful if you don't skip the espresso powder. Make sure you use a good quality one (I like King Arthur's) - it helps boost the flavour of the chocolate and gives an underlying mocha flavour to the cookie. I added 2 tsp. of espresso powder instead of one. Try them again - they do taste really good :)

  • DebbieDurham 29 Mar, 2010

    My grandpa used to say "So glad we don't like all the same things, cause if we did every man would be after your Grandma!" Some of you act so shocked if there happens to be a recipe here you don't like!

  • letmeeatcake 29 Mar, 2010

    These ARE COOKIES, AFVet. They are just shaped like pretzels. If you read the ingredient list, you'll see that it makes a chocolate cookie dough.

  • AFvet 29 Mar, 2010

    These are PRETZELS, NOT cookies. How much flavor does a preztel have but the toppings?

  • nuof 29 Mar, 2010

    woooow thes is cute

  • nuof 29 Mar, 2010

    woooow thes is cute

  • solberhl 16 Sep, 2009

    utter disappointment. no flavor at all.

  • karbatt 21 Jan, 2009

    I thought these would be cute, pretzel-shaped cookies, not flavorless pretzels with a weak chocolate flavor - pretty disappointing.

  • Neenie31 19 Dec, 2008

    The cookies look cute however they are VERY bland. I did not use instant espresso but I followed the rest of the recipe....I may just drizzle some melted chocolate on them to sweeten them up but they definetly need some more sugar for sure/

  • meonpc 11 Dec, 2008

    I knew when I read this receipt that they cookies would be very tasteless and reading the comments here have pretty much confirmed that. The cookies look so adorable though, so I'm thinking they might be improved by substituting two squares of unsweetened bakers chocolate for the cocoa powder, eliminating the espresso entirely, and adding another 1/4 cup of sugar for a total of 1/2 a cup. If these turn out better than the original, I'll let you know!

  • meonpc 11 Dec, 2008

    I knew when I read this receipt that they cookies would be very tasteless and reading the comments here have pretty much confirmed that. The cookies look so adorable though, so I'm thinking they might be improved by substituting two squares of unsweetened bakers chocolate for the cocoa powder, eliminating the espresso entirely, and adding another 1/4 cup of sugar for a total of 1/2 a cup. If these turn out better than the original, I'll let you know!

  • Jyllzie 11 Dec, 2008

    I'm thinking the recipe needs more sugar. 1/4 cup just doesn't seem like enough...

  • pumpkinhunt 6 Dec, 2008

    So many of Martha's cookie recipes are so good...and unfortunately these pretzels just aren't. I was very disappointed in them. I thought they looked like a fun, easy cookie to make with my three year old daughter, and they were...but I must admit that they don't taste like much of anything. I think I'm going to drizzle some chocolate ganache over them to try to help them out a bit, but if that fails, I'll simply end up throwing them away. What a waste!

  • sandal 14 Oct, 2008

    i also made these cookies.. and i will make them again. i didn't use "expresso powder" i used regular instant coffee.. mine tasted really good. sorry about all the disappointments. give them another try with more coffee flavoring.

  • damiller5516 7 Jan, 2008

    I was surprised to see that there are only positive comments to click on when rating a cookie. I selected this cookie for one of my christmas cookies because it was just a really cute cookie. It is easy to make, it looks great; however, there is no taste to this cookie at all. I would make another one that looks this cute but not this one... no taste at all.

  • mwbsc 26 Dec, 2007

    Hmm...I went to Rate this cookie, but there are only positive Rating suggestions. I think that there should also be room for negative ratings so readers can get the real picture of how others feel.

  • mwbsc 26 Dec, 2007

    I made this cookie, along with some from Martha's Baking Book, for Christmas gifts and this one was the only disappointment. The cookie was easy to make, and the aroma coming from the oven was definitely chocolaty. However, the taste was non-existent. I can't say to cookie tasted bad; it just had no taste at all! There must be something missing in the ingredient list or these weren't tested very well. Going to throw away my copy of this recipe.

  • BrownieBaker 24 Dec, 2007

    I made these yesterday for a twist on the annual Christmas cookie. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed. They were extremely labor intensive, and when completed, they tasted more like a bland biscotti, than a tasty chocolate cookie. If you follow the recipe, they end up not tasting very chocolatey. I would not recommend this recipe.

  • sbteri 18 Dec, 2007

    Thanks so much Yorkie7, I am definetly going to try this! My daughter and I love this cute cookie... It will be a fun addition to our Christmas cookie collection!

  • Yorkie7 13 Dec, 2007

    Makes about 16 large cookies.

    3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
    1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
    2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon. Set mixture aside.
    Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
    Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Divide dough in half; wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.
    Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp but not darkened. Cool on wire racks; decorate as desired.

  • Yorkie7 13 Dec, 2007

    I agree sbteri, these are adorable! Maybe Martha's recipe for chcolate cookies would work better. I've made them, quite chocolate-ty and a little dense but I liked them. Also saw the Cookie of Day for Nov.21 for chocolate ginger cookies, these might work? Here is the chcolate cookie recipe! Good luck all!! I'll post it next.

  • sbteri 11 Dec, 2007

    P.S. I don't have one, maybe Martha does????

  • sbteri 11 Dec, 2007

    The idea is completly adorable, what if you try another chocolate cookie dough recipe that you could roll out also. It just looks so appealing.

  • sharbo 7 Dec, 2007

    I wonder if dipping in chocolate and then instead of sanding sugar kosher salt sprinkled on top might make these sort of sweet and savory. How would anyone improve this recipe?

  • oldmixon 4 Dec, 2007

    These were a total flop for me. The dough was difficult to work with, the flavor is dull, the texture is chalky, and the color faded when I baked my pretzels, so much so that they ultimately came out looking rather poop-like. I'm a relatively experienced baker and I used high quality ingredients so I'm in agreement with the previous poster: this recipe must be recorded incorrectly...

  • angiemc 4 Dec, 2007

    I just made this today. I like the texture of the cookie, it was not too chewy or too crisp. However like swochstein said below they are a little on the bland side so i dipped half of each pretzel in chocolate.

  • alisya2131 3 Dec, 2007

    i want to try this!!

  • swhochstein 3 Dec, 2007

    My mom and I made these and both agreed that they just aren't up to par. They look beautiful, were easy to make, and smelled delicious, but they tasted more of flour than anything else. Perhaps the recipe isn't properly reproduced here, but these cookies weren't worth the effort.

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