Wandering around the supermarkets in Florida was like entering into a completely different world. There aren’t just a few different types of water or a couple of varieties of bread or even a handful of kombucha flavours. There is every type of every thing you could ever think of lining those walls. My uncle warned me, as we walked into Publix to pick up some salad and wine, that we would end up lost for days in the aisles, overcome with choice. As soon as the sliding doors opened up to a huge Valentines display of sweeties, I lost my mind. Mug cakes in every flavour lined the walls. Carrot cake Oreos stood alongside s’mores Chips Ahoy cookies and the frozen pizza section catered for meat lovers, cheese lovers, gluten free diners, paleos and vegans. I grabbed a basket and was there for a while, just staring at the choice. It’s no coincidence that the haul of sweets, cookies and crisps I took home made my suitcase tip the scales. Luckily Norwegian Air didn’t seem to mind too much.
Among the piles of Twizzlers and sprinkles I brought back from the States were these peanut butter chips. Like standard chocolate chips, these delicious little gems taste like mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and I knew I had to get baking with them as soon as possible. What better way to pay homage to whence they came than chewy cookies stuffed with dark chocolate chips and salty smashed pretzels?
This is my favourite kind of baking, where I think of a favourite flavour profile and smash it all into a soft cookie dough. In this instance, I thought of my love of salty sweet combinations, with added texture from crushed pretzels. With a long rest in the fridge overnight, these cookies come out with just a little bite but endlessly chewy and soft. A real testament to how well a recipe is received is whether it makes it into the office or not. Between myself and Chris, the 14 or so cookies this recipe yields didn’t make it past the weekend.
I’ve had a look online and it appears that Sainsbury’s sell the exact chips I used and of course, good ol’ Amazon is full of different quantities. But if you fancy making your own, this Minimalist Baker recipe looks delicious and is vegan and gluten free too.
- 110g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g soft light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 195g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 70g peanut butter chips
- 70g dark chocolate chips
- 50g salted pretzels, plus extra to top
- Using a stand mixer (or a hand mixer and a large bowl) beat the butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy. With the mixer still running, add the egg and then the vanilla paste. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and table salt with a fork, then add all at once to the wet mix.
- Place the pretzels in a food bag and lightly bash with the end of a rolling pin. You are looking for smashed up pieces of pretzel rather than pretzel dust. Fold the bashed pretzels into the cookie dough along with the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips, then cover with cling film and chill the dough for at least 1 hour, however I left mine overnight.
- When you are ready to bake the cookies, take the dough out of the fridge to warm up slightly. Preheat the oven to 150oc/130oc fan and line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Roll the cookie dough into 50g balls and space well apart on the trays. Top each cookie with a whole pretzel then bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly golden around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before lifting onto a wire rack to cool completely.