Pretzel Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Due to COVID protocol, our building decided to shift our annual holiday party (typically held in the lobby in December) to a November shindig in the courtyard. I signed up to bring chili for the cookoff and some cookies. When I found a recipe that claimed to be the “easiest,” I decided to see if it was true. When it comes to baking, easiest is pretty much the most complicated I can handle. While the recipe was for chocolate chip cookies, I decided to add some extra mix-ins. I had some salted caramel chips in the pantry (from Trader Joe’s) and also thought crushed pretzels would be perfect. I had cookies with potato chips once and loved so I knew pretzels would work with the chocolate and caramel flavors.

Before and after baking

Preheat the oven to 350 and melt 1/2 c. butter in the microwave for 40 seconds so it’s fully melted. In a bowl, mix the butter with the 1/2 c. sugar and 1/4 c. packed brown sugar until well-combined. Stir in 2 tsp vanilla and 1 egg until incorporated. Add the 1 3/4 c. flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix dough until just combined. Dough should be soft and a little sticky but not overly sticky. Stir in dark/semisweet chocolate chips, salted caramel chips (or regular caramel/toffee chips and then sprinkle flaky salt on the top), and crushed pretzels. I eyeballed all mix-ins but it was probably 3/4 of a cup total. Form the dough into 24 even balls and place on a silpat-lined baking sheet (or 2). Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until cookies are set. They will be puffy and still look a little underbaked in the middle. They don’t spread out all the way on their own so when they come out of the oven (and are still very warm and malleable), simply flatten them out a bit with a spatula. Note: I like mine soft and underbaked in the middle but I was worried these were too underbaked so I let them go for 11 minutes. I needn’t have stressed. Once they cool, they crisp up a bit. I could have taken them out at 9 minutes and been fine. They were still great this way – just pop em in the microwave for 10 seconds. Nicely crisp on the outside, warm on the inside.

While I can take zero credit for this recipe’s foundation, I’m accepting all praise for the flavor combo. This was the perfect mix of salty and sweet. Pretzels should be in as many desserts as possible. So what’s the verdict – are these truly the easiest cookies? Quite possibly. You don’t need a mixer or any other fancy equipment. There aren’t a ton of ingredients. The texture is great. The mix-in possibilities are endless. This recipe is a clear winner.