Brown butter pretzel M&M cookies

These cookies fall into a particular kind of category for me: stress baking / eating.  I made baked goods like this much more often when I lived in Boston, but recently I have been feeling pulled in enough directions with a travel case, orchestra rehearsals, volunteering, business school applications, and additional travel for fun that I decided I needed a batch of this.

And what is this, you might ask?  Well, I started with one recipe and added to it because most of the time the more things you cram in a cookie the more delicious it is.  Start with a browned butter base, go for the sweet and salty combo with crushed pretzels and mini M&Ms (because minis just make it cuter), and then add additional chocolate chips and chopped up Tim Tams.  I suppose if you’re unfortunate enough to not have access to Tim Tams you could forgo that element and they’d still be damn good.  You can use your imagination here but the most important part is that you have to eat a couple of spoonfuls of the dough when you are stressed and seriously it’s like actual medicine to make it all (temporarily) go away.

Perhaps not what the doctor ordered, but believe me, well worth it.

Browned butter pretzel M&M cookies (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter – I use 150 grams which is a bit less than you should (170) but I don’t notice any difference
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pretzel pieces – you can use pretzel sticks or mini pretzels.  I’ve done this two ways – crushing them completely in a food processor or just crushing them with my hands.  The former is a bit more subtle but still delightful and the latter yields more substantial chunks of pretzel in particular bites.  Your call!
  • 3/4 cup mini M&Ms (or regular size but mini is obviously cuter)
  • Additional chocolate chips or chopped up bar of chocolate (optional)
  • 4-5 Tim Tams or Oreos, chopped up real nice (optional)

Ok, quick refresher on browning butter: place it in a medium sauce pan and heat over low-medium heat.   Once it melts stir and watch it carefully – it will bubble and foam and brown specks will form.  As soon as you smell a nutty aroma, remove it from the heat and place in the fridge – you don’t want it to burn as obviously that will ruin the cookie.  Let it chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes and if you want you can even let it solidfy completely as long as you let it soften before making the cookie dough.

When it’s cooled, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in egg and vanilla. Then add the baking soda, salt, and finally the flour, stirring carefully to combine.  Stir in the pretzels, M&Ms, and any other mix-ins you’ve decided upon. The dough will be thick and sticky, so chill for at least 1-2 hours or up to several days covered in the fridge.  As with all browned butter cookies, the longer the better for chilling as the flavours really have time to settle in.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll little balls of dough with your hands and drop onto the cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  Don’t bake longer than 10 minutes as they will firm up as they cool.  Remove from the oven and attempt to let them cool for 3 minutes before sampling.  You may find it easier to wait if you are full from eating a lot of the dough, in case you want to try the Merri approach.

IMG_5603Look at that lovely browned butter

IMG_5604After the usual steps of creaming the butter and sugar and adding the egg in vanila, add in crushed pretzels and flour.  If you don’t crush the pretzels you can add them iin post the flour mix-in, but honestly the order does’t even matter that much and both ways the pretzels incorporate themselves into the cookie in the best way

IMG_5605And here come the mix-ins – M&Ms and chopped up Tim Tams!

IMG_5606Ready to go into the oven. Love the colour the little M&Ms add to the dough!

IMG_5607Finished product packaged up and ready to be taken out of my apartment where they prove a serious danger to my long-term health

I have to say, these are one of the best cookies I’ve made in recent memory that require very little effort.  Yes, there are a few more ingredients, but they are nowhere near as time-consuming as these or these so that is what makes them the perfect stress baking recipe.  Keys to stress baking/eating is that it can be done quickly, such as post midnight when you get home from work, and it looks cheerful to provide an instant mood boost.  In my fantasy bakery, these are definitely on the regular rotation!

One year ago: Roasted brussel sprouts and baked sweet potatoes with avocado and cucumber salsa, if you’re looking to be a bit healthier than this

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