Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

I know, it’s been awhile since I gave you a treat. I have a secret–I was a vegan for six weeks! Not a full-on throw my leather sneakers in the trash vegan, but I did eat an exclusively plant-based diet. No meat, no milk, no eggs, no cheese, and no (sniff) butter.

I’ve had a lot of friends (and my husband) ask me why? Mostly, it was an experiment. I wanted to see if I’d feel different. There’s a lot to be said for a totally, or even mostly, plant-based diet. I did feel great–light, energetic, and I never had any digestive upset. While I’m not ready to make a permanent change, I am reducing my overall intake of dairy and eggs (my meat consumption is pretty low already.) In addition to good health for my body, I feel as if I’m adding to the health of the planet too. Meat and dairy use a lot of resources, have a lot of waste, and many farms don’t treat their animals very nicely. I, on the other hand, treat the vegetables that grow in my garden quite splendidly. But I could never give up cookies.

What’s that you say? Stop blathering on about plants and get to the COOKIE?!? This cookie is the bomb. It combines my favorite things–namely, chocolate, pretzels, and peanut butter. I love Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby, and also those ultra-decadent chocolate-covered peanut butter-filled pretzels from Trader Joe’s. This recipe is those treats, in cookie form.

The dough improves after 12-24 hours of chilling, but more than that and the pretzels get too soft.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
18 oz brown sugar (2 1/3 cups)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (creamy)
8 1/2 oz bread flour (1 2/3 cups)
8 1/2 oz all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups chocolate chips
2 cups thin pretzels, roughly chopped
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

1) Cream the butter and brown sugar until very light and fluffy (at least five minutes). If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.

2) Add in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Add in peanut butter, and mix until completely combined.

3) In separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt .

4) Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, and mix on low until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and pretzels.

5) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough onto cookie sheet, flatten slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. You can make these cookies regular-size, or super-size. Just increase your cooking by 2-4 minutes for larger cookies.

7) For regular-size cookies, bake 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on sheet for a few minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack to finish.

You’re welcome. Goodnight.

Comments 13

  1. Laurel wrote:

    Anna – you are hardcore! I took a week off wheat and sugar (alcohol, caffeine, etc) to prepare for the gorgefest that was Thanksgiving in Penang. I experienced the same thing you mentioned: lightness, energetic, and the good feeling of not being too full at night, as I abstained from dessert after dinner. These cookies seem like a good way to come back. I went the ginger pumpkin cheesecake route. In any case, we are both ready for the holidays! ;0)

    Posted 21 Nov 2010 at 12:12 pm
  2. Elaine wrote:

    Anna – Why the bread flour? What happens if you only use all-purpose?

    Posted 04 Dec 2010 at 1:50 pm
  3. Anna wrote:

    Elaine – I use some bread flour, because I like the structure it gives to the cookie. You can absolutely use all-purpose, but you will still want the same overall volume (17 oz of flour), which if you use all purpose would equal a total of 3 1/2 cups.

    Posted 04 Dec 2010 at 8:54 pm
  4. Lisa wrote:

    Lisa’s long list of questions because she wants to make these cookies and have them turn out as perfect as Anna’s look!

    Where do you find flaky sea salt for sprinkling? Creamy PB, I assume?
    What type of pretzels did you use (ex – thin rods, twists, etc.)?
    How did you smash up the pretzels and to what size?
    Is the two cups of pretzels post-smashing?

    Thanks a bunch!!

    Posted 05 Dec 2010 at 12:30 am
  5. Anna wrote:

    Lisa-
    Well, I think you are trying to tell me that I need to be more specific in my recipes! Good to know. Here you go:
    1. I found my particular box of Maldon flaky sea salt at Williams-Sonoma. I know Amazon sells it as well, and I’d bet Whole Foods carries it.
    2. I used small pretzel twists, but thin rods would be fine too. I wouldn’t use anything thick.
    3. I just used a large chef’s knife to rough chop the pretzels. This resulted in the largest piece probably being a 1/2 inch long, but many were shorter (and some got totally crushed.)
    4. Two cups post-smashing.
    Let me know how they turn out!

    Posted 05 Dec 2010 at 1:23 am
  6. Anna wrote:

    I missed a question! I did use creamy peanut butter, but crunchy may be interesting. I would stick with the natural pb though, otherwise your cookies may be overly sweet.

    Posted 05 Dec 2010 at 1:24 am
  7. Lisa wrote:

    Oh my, I thought of another! Semi-sweet chocolate chips? Any particular brand you like?

    Posted 05 Dec 2010 at 2:38 am
  8. Anna wrote:

    Lisa-

    My default chocolate chip is Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet (because Costco sells those in embarrassingly large bags.) I like them though, and actually prefer them over Ghiradhelli (these are overly fruity, and not in a good way, in my opinion.) That said, if you ever come across the uber-fancy Guittard or Valrhona (and can afford them), your cookie would not suffer in the least.

    Posted 06 Dec 2010 at 3:05 am
  9. Maria wrote:

    These cookies look so delicious! I want one right now:)

    Posted 06 Dec 2010 at 3:18 am
  10. Julie wrote:

    I tried this recipe out for Thanksgiving, and the cookies were a total hit! Everyone was kind of skeptical about the pretzels at first, but once they tried them, they were hooked! I omitted the sea salt mainly because I only had coarse and could not find the flaked at the grocery store. I also only used all-purpose flour instead of the mixture of all-purpose and bread flour. Thanks for posting this, I will definitely be making them again and again!! :)

    Posted 30 Nov 2011 at 4:21 am
  11. Anna wrote:

    I’m so glad everyone liked them, and thanks for posting your recipe modifications and how they worked! Happy Holidays!
    -Anna

    Posted 30 Nov 2011 at 4:59 pm
  12. Louise Atkins wrote:

    After you have made the dough and chilled for the hours how do you scoop them on the cookie sheet because the dough is so hard Louise

    Posted 27 Sep 2013 at 4:30 pm
  13. Anna wrote:

    Great question! Whenever I chill cookie dough, I always let it sit on the counter until it’s room temperature and soft before scooping it (usually 15-25 minutes is plenty). The dough doesn’t need to be baked chilled, it’s just the idea that it’s been in the fridge in dough form, letting all of the wet ingredients fully re-hydrate the dry ingredients that improves the flavor.

    Posted 27 Sep 2013 at 4:38 pm

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