#39 Salty & Sweet Candy Bar Pie

Posted by Chrisi

I first made this pie… in February 2012. It was a birthday pie for my research student, Jenny. It must have been damn good pie because I never forgot it. Why was it so memorable? Several reasons. One, it was a ton of work. There is the salty pretzel crust. There is the gooey brownie layer. There is the candy bar layer. There is the cheesecake layer. And then there is the chocolate ganache layer. Assembled in that order. But, for the special someone, that special occasion, it’s totally worth the effort. Because the REAL reason why I remember this pie is because it made Jenny, and my other research students, so happy. That’s why I made this pie again… five years later. I was going to make it for another cadre of research students. I was going to enter it into the JMU Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) bake-off competition. I was going to… but I didn’t. I ran out of time. Instead I built a mass spectrometer out of candy… because THAT took less time. Alas, my “candy quadrupole” resulted in the “Most Nerdy” prize and this pie would (obviously) not have been competitive in that category. So I reserved the redux for another special occasion (the 4th of July weekend) and for the MOST special of people (my husband and son).

Original recipe from Blue-eyed Baker (and largely unedited)

Pretzel Crust:
  • 2 cups finely chopped pretzels. Or leave pretzels a little “chunky” and mix with finely crushed graham cracker to yield a total of two cups.
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted

Note: This is an extremely sweet pie. I think that you could cut the sugar in the brownie and cheesecake layers to 1/3 and 1/4 cup, respectively. I find that the perfect serving size is about a 1/2” slice. J

Brownie layer.
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2/3 cut semi-sweet chocolate chips. I used Ghirardeli minis.
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
6-8 ounces of candy bar. I have used Snicker and peanut butter Snicker. I think Reece’s cups would work, too.

Cheesecake layer.
  • 10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate ganache.
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream. Half and half works, too.


Crust. Use a food processor to crush the pretzels into a fine to medium crumb. Mix pretzels with the melted butter and brown sugar. Transfer to the pie pan and pat into place. I like to use a measuring cup to pack the bottom and sides of the crust. Bake the crust for 7 minutes in a 350 F oven. While the crust bakes…

Brownie layer.

Mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Add the chocolate and butter to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between intervals, until the chocolate and butter are melted and well-combined. Set aside to cool slightly.

Use a mixer to cream the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate/butter mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Poor the brownie mixture into the pretzel crust.

Here is where the Blue-eyed Baker and I disagree. She recommends cooking the brownie layer at 350 F for 15 minutes. I don’t think this is long enough. I recommend baking for at least 20 minutes.

After the brownie layer is partially baked, remove it from the oven and allow cool on a rack while you…

Cheesecake layer. Use a mixer to cream the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg, egg white and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

Arrange the candy bar pieces on top of the slightly cooled brownie layer. Poor the cheesecake batter over the candy and bake.

The Blue-eyed Baker recommends baking for 16-18 minutes. I baked for 25 minutes. You want the cheesecake layer to be set.

After the cheesecake layer is set, remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool slightly while you…

Chocolate ganache. Mix the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between intervals, until the chocolate is melted and the cream is well-combined. Evenly spread the ganache over the cheesecake layer. Allow the pie to cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for a least three hours before serving. I recommend chilling overnight.


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