Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

So I'm working on this post early this morning. I basically had this whole thing written about how I wasn't really a cookie person, but I like these cookies. I love pretzels, I made these totally for me, these cookies make me a cookie person, blah blah blah, stuff like that.

Just now as I was finishing the post it hit me. Not a cookie person? Not a cookie person?! I've made more cookies lately than any person should make ever! I'm the Cookie Master! The Cookie Ninja, the Cookie Queen! (Feel free to refer to me by any of these titles). I can make cookies with one hand tied behind my back, no recipe, and barely any ingredients.

Not a cookie person. That may have been true, once upon a time. But no longer. I am the Cookie Goddess.

I'm also very humble. Can't you tell?

Anyway, I'm officially a cookie person and I'm really into making cookies right now. Here are my reasons why:

1. They are super easy to make.
2. I always have the ingredients to make some kind of cookie around.
3. Hands on time? We're talking ten to twenty minutes tops.
4. Crowd pleasers! Undercook them, overcook them, people will still eat them.
5. Lots of room for creativity. If it is a food item, it can go in a cookie.
6. My husband loves them. And I like to spoil him. I should not be a mother, I'll have bratty kids.

And since we are making lists, here are some of my cookie tips:

1. Try to make your cookies as uniform in size and shape as possible. The best way to do this is to weigh them. I know, this seems ridiculous, but weighing your dough makes perfectly uniform cookies and this ensures that they cook evenly. I actually don't weigh mine. But I am the Cookie Ninja, so I can get away with that. And you can too, but be as precise as possible. If you have a scale, use it.

2. Better undercooked than overcooked! Even if they are too gooey at first, they will cool and solidify. Overcooked cookies will just get harder. I'm looking for a slight golden brown edge and no wetness in the middle. If they still look wet in the middle, leave them in. But if you are unsure, go ahead and take them out.

3. I like to sprinkle my cookies with sugar and a bit of sea salt. I sprinkled some cookies with sugar one time and Olie just loved it. So now I do it every time. And a touch of salt just brings out the flavor. This also adds a nice crunch on the top and a pretty presentation. You definitely want more sugar than salt. And always kosher or sea salt! Not table salt!

4. If you aren't yet a Cookie Master, bake them in small batches. This way, you can see what went wrong. Are my cookies too big? Did I cook them too long? Etc. Cook one pan at a time and make adjustments as needed.

This cookie recipe is my new all-time favorite. It's like a Reese's with pretzels. Wait, why isn't that a thing?

Now go make these cookies! Spoil someone you love. Or spoil yourself! You deserve it. Or maybe you don't, but these cookies will make you feel better.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies (Adapted from Joy of Cooking)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup peanut butter (I used chunky, but use what you have)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pretzels (any shape) broken up
Sugar for sprinkling cookies
Sea salt for sprinkling cookies

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease two cookie sheets.

Mix your flour and your baking soda together. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat your butter and sugars on medium speed until nice and fluffy, about five minutes. If you don't have a stand mixer, use cake beaters. They do a terrific job.

Add in your egg, peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add in the flour and mix until just combined. Add your chocolate chips and your pretzels. Don't overmix.

Shape your dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Press down and flatten them out as much as you can. This dough is actually a bit tough to work with. It's crumbly and the pretzels want to fall out of the dough balls. If the pretzels fall out, you can place them on top. They will bake into the cookie. Dust with sugar and sprinkle sea salt on top. Slide cookies into the oven.

In my oven, cookies take 11 minutes. You're looking at anywhere from 10 to 13 minutes of oven time. Check them at 10 minutes. Remember, slightly golden brown around the edge and no wetness in the middle.

My cookies were a bit too round on the top. This happens. Put on an oven mitt and, when they are fresh out of the oven, press gently down on your cookies. This kind of smooshes everything together and makes a flatter cookie.

There you have it! I loved these cookies. The dough was awesome too. But then, all cookie dough is awesome.

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