Food52 contributor Jenny Steinhauer discovers the key to a crowd-pleasing cookie: fill it with chocolate chips, nuts, pretzels, granola -- basically everything but the kitchen sink.
I'm just going to come right out and admit that when I first looked over this kitchen sink cookie recipe I was skeptical, because I did not believe the world was in need of a cookie that involved granola.
But a certain Food52 staffer hectoring me with the determination of a hunger-crazed Killdeer to "MAKE THE COOKIES!!!!!!!!!" and the realization that I had signed up to provide the pre-worship snack for our congregation on a Friday night three hours before I had to be there combined to inspire me to give these cookies a whirl.
As you can see, a lot of this recipe is left to whim and fancy. Want some nuts? Go for it. No? Okay never mind. Feeling spicy? Add some cinnamon. Got some pretzels lying about? Toss them in. Do not, as I didn't? Find something else. (I had a cup of slightly stale toffee pieces. In they went as the substitute for nuts and pretzels both. I added no spices.)
What is deceiving about this cookie, which I figured would be mostly a newfangled chocolate chip thing, is that it's actually quite delicate, more tuile than Tollhouse, with lots of crisp and snap. I am guessing this is due to its fairly high sugar content, made all the more so by granola and in my case the toffee bits.
This is a fairly standard cookie method, with butter creamed and eggs and vanilla added next, your dry ingredients following behind, with a good amount of scraping down. Your mix-ins come last. Our author tells us to form these and then fridge them, but I don't have room in my fridge for such falderal so I just chilled the dough right in the mixing bowl for 20 minutes. I used a small-sized scoop to get these guys on the pan, which is faster than hand rolling.
The recipe instructs you to cook these one sheet at a time, and I assume this is to prevent uneven cooking or burning. I was in a hurry so I did two sheets at a time and rotated them after seven minutes. You really need to watch these because they will burn if you are not careful, though I repeat, my toffee chips may be to blame. Please let them cool before moving them.
The taste? Delicious. Sweet, delightfully crunchy, complex in this really sort of best-bakery-in-the-neighborhood sort of way. I placed them on the table at my temple and watched the grown men and women go crazy. One older congregant ate three. "That really is enough for me," she chuckled as I looked on with delight. I am sure she doesn't think I saw her stuff another into her pocket.
Magical Marvelous Memorable Cookies
Makes 24-30 cookies
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granola (or other cereal)
1/2 cup crushed salted pretzel pieces (or other salty snack food)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chocolate candies, or small bar of good dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts, optional (If you don't use nuts, you may want to add more cereal, snacks or chocolate to compensate.)
You may want to also add a little cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, or whatever you fancy.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
2. In another bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again.
3. (For this step you can use a wooden spoon or your mixer on slow speed.) Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add granola, pretzels, chocolate and nuts, and mix until well incorporated, ensuring that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed. Restrain yourself from eating the raw cookie dough.
4. Scoop dough into balls, each about 1 1/2 tablespoons, then roll between palms into balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart, 8-12 per sheet. Freeze at least 20 minutes, or refrigerate at least one hour before baking. (They will still spread a lot.)
5. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Let cool completely before gently moving cookies to wire rack. They will be fragile, especially on the edges.
Photo by James Ransom