Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

The current trend of desserts these days is sweet combined with salty.  In creating something with these two opposing flavors, you have to be very careful because not all sweet flavors are complimented with salt.

A salty component on the rise for baked goods is bacon. There is a population of people that cannot get enough of the bacon/sweet combo, but I am not one of them. It is definitely an acquired taste. Caramel,  chocolate and peanut butter are real safe bets when adding the flavor of salt. 

This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies and combines peanut butter with salty pretzels.  Note that the smaller your pretzels are, the better looking your cookies will be. They should be about 1/4 in length and straight sticks are better to work with.  Also, these cookies do not get real brown, so be careful not to over bake them.  In order for them to remain chewy, 10 minutes in the oven and 2 minutes on the pan cooling is just right.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies
courtesy of  USA Cookbook via  Elles New England Kitchen

1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (room temp)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup salted pretzel pieces
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (room temp)
1/2 cup shortening (room temp)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 packed cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
chocolate chips (mini or regular for topping)
Coarse kosher salt (for topping)

Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer, beat together at medium speed both sugars with the shortening, butter and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes. Then mix in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.  Add in the peanut butter, beating the batter with the electric mixer until smooth. Put mixer away and set aside batter.

In a smaller bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour).  Using a wooden spoon, mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the flour.  Continue this process in 1/3 increments until a dough is formed and no dry areas remain.  Mix in pretzel pieces, either with wooden spoon or by hand, until evenly distributed throughout dough.

Take pieces of dough and roll into 1 inch balls.  Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Using the tines of a fork dipped in water, flatten the balls with a criss-cross pattern.  Then place 3 chocolate chips or sprinkle mini chips onto the cookies, gently pressing into the dough.  Sprinkle kosher salt on top.

Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to rack to finish cooling.