Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Waffles

My family kept a pretty healthy diet when I was a kid. But there was one notable exception: Sunday breakfast.

We went through phases over the years, but Sunday was always our day to chow down on a special morning treat. First, it was bagels. Then—pancakes. And once I hit high school, we had homemade waffles every single Sunday.

Come Sunday morning, my mom would pull out her waffle maker and start cranking out batches of crispy, fluffy waffles. Most had chocolate chips. Because if you’re going for an indulgent breakfast, why not go all the way?

When I moved into my first post-college apartment, my mom got me a waffle maker as a gift. It usually lives in the back corner of my deepest cabinet, and I don’t take it out much. But these last couple weeks, I’ve found a lot of comfort in making crisp, fluffy waffles for an extra-special meal.

IMG_0166 (1)

Back in the day, my mom used the Krusteaz waffle mix. Maybe I’ll get some soon for a nostalgic treat. But in the meantime, I loved this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. These waffles truly live up to their name: They’re rich and full-flavored, with crispy edges and fluffy centers. You can, of course, omit the chocolate chips. But… why would you?

If you’re concerned about getting buttermilk right now or wasting some of it, I recommend buying shelf-stable buttermilk powder instead. It’s one of my favorite baking hacks, so I always have a container in the fridge. It lasts for ages, and comes in handy for everything from biscuits to scones to cake.

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Waffles

Original recipe: Smitten Kitchen. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.

Yield: I got five, 4-part Belgian waffles out of this. It will depend somewhat on your waffle maker’s shape and volume.

Suggested equipment: Waffle maker 🙂

Total Time: ~30 minutes

Cook Time: Depends on your waffle maker. I cooked up all my batter in ~10 minutes.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk.
    • If you’re using powdered buttermilk, follow the instructions on your container to make sure you use the right amount of dry powder and added water. In the original recipe, Deb also says you can swap in 1 1/2 cups sour cream OR 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.
  • 2 eggs, separated into yolks and eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled (1/2 stick)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Neutral oil for your waffle pan (Canola, etc.)


  1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. If you’re using buttermilk powder, this is when you’ll add in the powder portion.
  2. In another bowl, combine your egg yolks and the buttermilk/sour cream/yogurt. If you’re using buttermilk powder, this is when you’ll add in the water portion.
  3. To the bowl with the eggs, stir in your butter and vanilla.
  4. Spray your iron with oil, and preheat it.
  5. Meanwhile, stir your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  6. Use your mixer or a whisk to beat your egg whites into soft peaks. That means that they’ll hold a bit of a peak, then fall back down again. This step helps get your waffles crispy, so don’t skip it!
  7. Stir your egg whites gently into the batter.
  8. Once your iron is heated, spread batter into the iron and bake until it’s done.
  9. You can serve these immediately, or warm them for a few minutes on a low oven setting.

Waffles keep really well, so you can freeze your extras for another day. They don’t keep as well in the fridge, but it’ll be ok for a couple days. I ended up eating my waffles three days in a row. Shh. Don’t tell my mom.


Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve made a lot of dairy-free recipes over the years, but haven’t ventured far into vegan territories. After a couple negative experiences with less-than-great vegan recipes, I worried that all the ingredient substitutions just couldn’t lead to an awesome final result.

Well, dear readers: I stand corrected. These Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies are pretty darn amazing. If someone handed you one of these cookies on the street*, you’d never guess they’re vegan. And based on what I read on baking blogs, that seems to be the ultimate compliment for ingredient-restricted recipes.

These cookies swap in coconut oil and coconut milk for more standard cookie ingredients like eggs and butter. I’d never used either ingredient before, so I wasn’t totally sure how this would go. But the final cookies have such an amazing texture! They’re thick and chewy, with a nicely firm exterior. The original recipe writer recommended making these decently big, and I took that advice. The final cookies were truly delicious, and very satisfying.

I guess these cookies have officially convinced me that vegan baking can be awesome. Maybe I’ll try this vegan chocolate cake next…

* If someone actually handed you a cookie on the street would you eat it? Because I definitely wouldn’t! My Lyft driver took one of these and I will always wonder if he actually ate it once I got out… or tossed it in the trash. Stranger danger! 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Original recipe: Baker by Nature. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: ~30 cookies

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~60 minutes

Cook Time: ~10 minutes


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil. I used refined/virgin oil because I read it has less of a coconut taste. Your coconut oil needs to be totally solid—if it has started to melt at all, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to get it back to a solid state
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk. I got the Thai variety based on the recipe’s original notes, but you can use any kind you want
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips. If you really need these to be vegan, make sure to find vegan chocolate chips! I use the Enjoy Life brand


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Use your mixer to beat the coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla. They should be well-combined before you move on.
  3. Add in your coconut milk and applesauce, and beat again.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Pour your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix until the ingredients are totally combined. Note that your batter will be thick! If it seems too sticky, you can add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add another tablespoon of coconut milk.
  6. Stir in 1.5 cups of chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
  7. Scoop your cookies onto a lined cookie sheet. I used a two tablespoon scoop to measure out my dough.
  8. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the centers are set. Keep a close eye on them—they’ll start to burn if you leave the cookies in too long.
  9. Cool your cookies on the baking sheets for 15 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and let them finish firming up.



Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

Looking for a party-ready, easy treat? I’ve got you covered.


These Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars are a salty sweet treat that’s easy to whip up, and super easy to scarf down. The prep is really simple: just make some cookie dough, mix in your pretzels and chocolate, and throw it in a pan. No other prep, no chill time…you don’t even need to roll the dough into balls! These are a great pick for events outdoors since they’ll keep nicely in hot temperatures and they’re easy to transport.

I’ve made these a few times, and they’re always a crowd pleaser. The actual cookie dough is delicious on its own, and the pretzel/chocolate combo takes it up a notch. The original recipe also includes a chocolate and peanut butter drizzle, but I’ve never tried that part and the bars certainly don’t need a drizzle to be delicious!

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

Original recipe: Brown Eyed Baker. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: 32 bars

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (or semisweet, if you prefer)
  • 1½ cups mini pretzel twists, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Whisk your flour, baking soda and salt
  3. Using your mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until it’s light and fluffy (it will take about a minute)
  4. Beat in your eggs and vanilla
  5. Switch the mixer to low speed, then beat in the flour mixture until it’s just incorporated
  6. Stir in your chocolate chips and pretzel pieces by hand
  7. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray
  8. Pour your batter into the pan and use a spatula to make sure it’s evenly spread
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown
  10. Let the pan cool completely, then cut into squares and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers

This easy recipe puts a pumpkin spice twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie. The recipe calls for a rather standard list of ingredients–with one very important, very notable exception. What’s that, you say? Why, Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter of course.

I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s pumpkin-flavored cookie butter because it combines so many wonderful things: nutmeg, pumpkin and little bits of cookie, to name a few. In this recipe, the cookie butter gets mixed right into your cookie dough. It adds a really satisfying complexity with nuanced flavors.This is a pretty cakey chocolate chip cookie, so the insides are soft and delightful. Like most things “pumpkin spice,” you’ll taste the cookie butter’s spice mix more than its pumpkin.

img_2396I’ve baked up many cookie butter recipes in the last couple years, from Cookie Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies to Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies. I’ll take cookie butter any way you want to serve it… but I definitely prefer using it in base doughs rather than using it as a filling. It’s an easy way to amp up the flavor in simple recipes!

For these Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers, I started with a recipe for Biscoff cookies, and simply swapped in the seasonal cookie butter flavor. I bet these would be delicious with standard cookie butter, too! You could try that same trick with other cookie butter recipes, like these Cookie Butter Bars with Nutella Swirls.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Chippers

Original recipe: Sally’s Baking Addiction, with a cookie butter flavor swap. I’ve written things a bit and added commentary, too. 

Yield: 20 cookies 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: 45 minutes for the recipe, total of 4 hours including chill time 

Cook Time: 9 minutes 


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (you can swap in dark if you need to)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Step by Step Directions

Make your dough 

  1. Use your mixer to beat the butter for a minute on medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy
  2. Add your granulated sugar and brown sugar, then beat the mixture on medium-high until it’s fluffy and light in color
  3. Beat in the egg, extra egg yolk and vanilla on high speed
  4. Beat in the cookie butter until your entire mixture is completely combined
  5. Use a separate bowl to whisk the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt until combined
  6. Turn your mixer to low speed, then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
  7. Switch the mixer to high speed to beat in your chocolate chips
  8. Cover your dough tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 3 days. Chilling gives the dough great flavor, so don’t skip this step. You can also freeze dough balls if you want to bake the cookies later on

Bake your cookies 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Let your dough sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes so it’s easier to scoop into balls
  3. Start scooping doughs of ball onto your lined baking sheets
  4. Bake the cookies 9-10 minutes (mine took 9 minutes on the dot!). They’ll look pretty undone in the centers and really soft-but they’ll finish firming up as they cool, so don’t worry about it!
  5. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on their baking sheets, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely

These will keep for up to a week if you store them in a covered container, or in your fridge.


Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve already given you several “stuffed” recipes. The Cookie Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. The Thin Mint Stuffed Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies ( a personal favorite). Oh and those crazy good Peanut Butter Cup Brownies.

I’m not over it yet.

Thing is: merging two delicious things together is just such a good plan. Whether it’s spreads and doughs, doughs and cookies, cookies and brownies – adding two flavors and textures together elevates baked goods so much more than simple mix-in additions could.


Adding in the caramels

These cookies jumped off my baking list and into my kitchen for a birthday party. Two friends shared a party, and I did some digging to find overlap in their baked good preferences. Caramel won the round! I’d already made caramel-stuffed Snickerdoodles a bit before and loved how the melty caramel centers came out. I decided to work with caramels again, and thought this chocolate chocolate chip cookie recipe might be a nice change of pace.

The cookies turned out great… though I will admit they made me really late to the party! Let’s just say that a side experiment to stuff the same dough with frosting did not turn out so well. No big loss, because the caramel-stuffed cookies were winners (and the birthday was a come-and-go thing, anyway!). My friends gobbled these up real fast. The chocolate base has a satisfying depth to it, with cocoa in the dough plus chocolate chips added in. I swapped in sea salt for regular salt and think it made the base dough even more tasty. Once your dough is ready, caramel candies get stuffed into the cookie dough balls. You stuff them in the middle, but they’ll sink to the cookie bottoms somewhat while baking. When you bite into a cookie you’ll get a nice caramel-y surprise. The caramel does harden over time, so you’ll need to serve these warm if you want a gooey effect.

This dough was a little challenging to work with, so I’d chill it next time. Otherwise, you might find it’s a little hard to form your caramel-stuffed balls.

Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Original recipe:  Crazy Little Projects. I’ve edited the recipe a bit and added my own commentary. 

Yield: ~30 cookies 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~2 hours 40 minutes, including 2 hours for chilling the dough 

Cook Time: ~9 minutes 


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 package of caramel square candies – I used Kraft. You’ll probably have leftovers, which you should definitely use to make Caramel Doodles.
  • Extra sea salt for sprinkling

Step by Step Directions

Make your dough 

  1. Cream butter and sugar together
  2. Add the cocoa and eggs, and mix together until it’s combined
  3. Add in the dry ingredients and mix again
  4. Stir in your chocolate chips (I decreased the number of chocolate chips vs. the original recipe because it started to look like a lot of chocolate chips in the bowl. Feel free to dial it back up to 1.5 cups of chips if you so desire!)
  5. Chill the dough for at least a couple hours so it’s easier to work with and doesn’t spread as much while baking

Assemble and bake 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Unwrap 12 caramels to start, and cut each caramel in half. You will probably need more than this but I’d lowball upfront so you don’t waste unwrapped caramels!
  3. Line your cookie sheets
  4. Roll out balls of dough so they’re each roughly 1 to 1.5 inches large and place them on your cookie sheets at least an inch apart
  5. Take a caramel half and press it on top of each ball of dough. Push the caramel into the center of the ball and cover it up completely with dough (see pictures for reference). Unwrap more caramels as you need them to fill all the balls of dough!
  6. Sprinkle the tops of the cookie balls with a bit of sea salt
  7. Bake the cookies for ~9 minutes. They’re done when the edges firm up a bit, but the centers still look a little soft
  8. Let them cook for a few minutes before biting in

As I mentioned, the caramel will harden up the longer you let the cookies cool. Still, you gotta let them sit for a few minutes before chomping down – that caramel can get mighty hot!

Web-Hopping vol. 22

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day. Is that a real holiday, you ask? Probably not… but I am more than happy to justify eating a lot of chocolate chips today. And I’m guessing you’re cool with the excuse, too. So, today’s round-up is full of chocolate chips! Here are some of the most drool-worthy chocolate chip links I’ve added to my “baking list” this week. I also plan to bake up some chocolate chip goodness later today… but haven’t actually decided what to make just yet! We have a bake-off at work tomorrow and I keep oscillating between trying to pick something I think will be a “crowd pleaser” vs. making something a little riskier. Stay tuned for how that one nets out…

In the meantime, here are some deliciously chocolate chip-y links for your Sunday drools.


From Hugs and Cookies Xoxo

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies: I’m not a huge cheesecake eater, but I do like cheesecake as a topping, filling, etc. I think these bars have just the right dose of cheesecake, stuffed into cookie bars.

S’mores Bars: I’m pretty obsessed with s’mores and have a really long list of bookmarked recipes that incorporate some combo of marshmallows/graham crackers/chocolate. I’m determined to make a ton of them this year.


From Two Peas and their Pod

Mango Dark Chocolate Chunk Scones: Can’t wait to try these soon – I love fruit and chocolate together!

Orange Chocolate Chip Shortbread: Orange chocolate is one of my favorite fruit-chocolate combos, and this looks super easy. One of these days I just need to buy tons of oranges and knock off lots of the orange recipes on my list.

Peanut Butter Chip Shortbread: Yup, a second shortbread! I forget about shortbread and I should stop that – it’s so easy and satisfying.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies

The minute I saw Trader Joe’s was selling Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter, I knew I had to bake with it. Cookie Butter has been on a rapid ascent to U.S. popularity over these last couple years, particularly within the crowd that shops at Trader Joe’s. It’s actually not a Trader Joe’s invention: abroad it’s known as “speculoos” and it’s been popular for quite some time. It’s also been sold as Biscoff spread here in the States. But Trader Joe’s definitely gets credit for making cookie butter accessible to more Americans- and for that, I salute them.

Once I had a jar of Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter in my 20151031_191932hands, I had an important decision to make. Should I put it into a cookie dough, adding that flavor into the cookie base itself? Or should I stuff it into chocolate chip cookies, like I did with regular cookie butter earlier this year? The answer was clear: I wanted to see what flavor the cookie butter would impart to dough itself. So I turned to my trusted Cookie Butter Blondie recipe from Confessions of a Baking Queen. I’ve made this recipe with regular cookie butter, to great results. I had my winner.

IMG_2754.jpgI followed Elizabeth’s original recipe, only swapping in the new variety of cookie butter. It turns out that putting Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter in her recipe is a really, really delicious choice. The flavored spread added a nice touch of pumpkin, along with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Yes, that’s right- unlike many “pumpkin spice” products, this spread does have pumpkin, along with all the spices usually included in “pumpkin spice.” So you get hints of allspice and cloves, pumpkin, plus the gingery taste of the typical cookie butter ingredients. Add that to a blondie base with chocolate chips- and I think you’ll understand why my friends were excited to see these appear at a Halloween party. Another important note about these blondies: they were the first thing I baked in my new apartment’s oven. Monumental, right?!

I plan to make these again very soon, probably to share with coworkers. Trader Joe’s actually sold out of the spread at the store closest to me, and the worker told me they probably won’t restock. So, dear readers, I encourage you to go out right now and seize the day- and seize some Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter, too.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter Blondies

Source: Confessions of a Baking Queen, with just a flavor swap 

Yield: One 9×9 pan of blondies (roughly 20 blondies, depending on how you cut) 

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~45 minutes 

Cook Time: ~25 minutes 

I broke the original recipe into a few more detailed steps and wrote my own commentary below. 


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Pie Spice cookie butter (if you can’t find any, I implore you to still make this with regular cookie butter!)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips/ chocolate chunks
  • Sea salt for garnish


Get prepped to bake 

  1. Melt your butter
  2. Line a 9×9 inch pan with foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 350F

Make your dough 

  1. Once the butter is cooled, combine it in the mixer with sugar, brown sugar and vanilla
  2. Then, add in the egg and mix until incorporated
  3. Mix in the cookie butter, and set the bowl aside
  4. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt
  5. Add the dry ingredients (flour etc.) into the wet ingredients (butter etc.) and mix
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips (I always do this part by hand so I don’t over-mix the dough) 
  7. Spread the dough into your prepared pan, trying to make it even on top
  8. Sprinkle sea salt lightly over the top of your dough. Just a sprinkle does the trick, you don’t want the entire top covered in salt!

Bake your blondies 

  1. Bake for ~22-27 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine took a little longer so I ended up leaving it in around 25 minutes
  2. Let cool for 30 minutes in the actual pan, then use the foil to remove the blondies from your pan

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with “Cookie Dough” Frosting

When friends announce they’re having a party, my scheming wheels start to turn. Recipe-scheming, that is. I love any excuse to try new recipes, and parties are the perfect venue to share the baking bounty. So when my friend Amanda decided to have a birthday fiesta, I jumped into Baker-Planner mode:

1. Intelligence-gathering: I furtively determined her favorite kinds of desserts and decided to go with a cookie-dough theme.

2. Recipe-Hunting: Nothing on my “to-bake” list qualified for my vision, so I set to Googling. I found a few great contenders and decided on a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I use Sally’s blog a lot, and find her recipes dependably awesome. This particular recipe was for “cookie cups”- a.k.a. cookies baked in muffin tins to create a cupcake-like shape. The frosting on top emulates cookie dough, but it’s eggless and therefore safer to eat than cookie dough itself. It seemed like the perfect recipe for Amanda’s tastes.

3. Execute: I made the “cookie cups” the morning of the party and then slathered them in frosting. The treats disappeared very quickly at the party, so I think they were a hit!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with “Cookie Dough” Frosting 

Only 2 left... and then these disappeared, too

Only 2 left… and then these disappeared, too

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Yield: ~24 cookie cups

Suggested equipment: stand mixer or hand-mixer

Total Time: ~45 minutes

Cook Time: ~15 minutes 

Italics below are my personal comments on the original recipe. I broke the directions into a few more steps, too.


Cookie Cup Ingredients 

  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (set the butter out a bit before you’re going to start baking)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature preferred (set the egg out a bit before you’re going to start baking)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (aka cornflour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cup (225g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/4 cup (225g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon (215g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (160g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (95ml) milk 
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) mini chocolate chips

Step by Step Directions

Make your batter

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color
  2. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt
  4. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The dough will be thick!
  5. Stir in chocolate chips (I did this by hand vs. with the mixer paddle) 

Bake your cookie cups 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  2. Line your muffin pan with liners
  3. Press 1.5 tablespoons of dough into each liner
  4. Bake ~12-13 minutes, removing the pan from the oven when the edges begin to slightly brown, and the centers still appear soft. Do not overbake!
  5. Allow cups to cool while you make your frosting

Make your frosting and assemble 

  1. Using your mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar at medium speed
  2. Add vanilla and beat well
  3. Stir in flour and salt until the frosting gets doughy
  4. Beat in the milk until the frosting gets fluffy
  5. At this point I recommend a taste check. I ended up adding some more vanilla and salt to taste because the frosting was a little sweet for my preferences. Do a test and see whether you need adjustments for your own taste, then add in extra vanilla and/or salt as needed to get to the taste you want. Add just a little bit extra at a time! 
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips
  7. Frost cooled cookie cups
  8. Un-frosted cookie cups stay fresh covered at room temperature for 5 days. Frosted cookie cups must be stored in the refrigerator

Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter Dough

Over the past couple years, my salty sweet dessert repertoire has expanded far beyond the peanut butter cups of my youth. Salt is popping up in lots of my favorite desserts, from salted chocolate ice cream to salted caramel brownies. I’ve written about the salty-sweet trend from a more analytical angle over at my other blog. But for right here, right now: I just want to talk about cookies.

Great texture and great flavors made these a star recipe Please refer to the photo on the left. What you see is a delicious cookie, studded with pretzels, chocolate chips and caramel bits. It’s a harmony of flavors, and a wonderful mix of textures, all mixed in to a great base dough.

These cookies were born from a promise. I had promised my boyfriend I’d bake for him last weekend and since I take such promises very seriously, I gave him 5 options to choose from when Baking Day rolled around. My suggestions ranged from S’More Cupcakes to Lemon Bars to a few types of cookies. He took a look and made a suggestion of his own: Why not create a hybrid cookie? Why settle for one type of cookie when you could combine two great concepts into one?

And so these cookies were born. We used the base from these Salty Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies from “Cookies and Cups,” but added in a heaping of caramel bits for another layer of flavor. These turned out to be delicious decisions. The base dough has a delectable brown butter base, and the pretzels sort of float to the bottom to provide a satisfying crunch. The chocolate chips and caramel bits work well together, too, and it’s nice to get some variation as you bite through your cookie.

20150718_195613The other good news? This recipe is super easy. The hardest part is browning the butter, and once you try that a couple times you’ll get the hang of it. You definitely should try it- browned butter is a great addition to a lot of recipes (and also pretty “in” these days). This recipe is quick because the dough doesn’t have to chill before baking. Cookies are always one of the fastest things to bake overall, so you can get these from ingredient to finished product in under an hour. The cookies held up well over a couple days, too. So all in all: a total winner.

I gave my boyfriend a good chunk of the batch, left a few for my roommate, and brought the rest to a birthday party that night. The party was at a bar, so I probably looked a bit odd carrying cookies around – but my friends are very used to this behavior by now, and applaud it wholeheartedly.

Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter Dough 

Source:  Based on this recipe from Cookies and Cups, with a caramel twist

Yield:  ~28 cookies

Suggested equipment: stand mixer

Total Time: ~40 minutes 

Cook Time: ~8-12 minutes, depending on your oven 

Italics below are my own comments on the original recipes. I broke the directions into a few more steps, too


  • 1 cup butter, melted and browned (instructions for browning below)
  • 1¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk (meaning, 1 more yolk on top of the other 2 eggs) 
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1½ cups crushed pretzels (roughly – you can adjust for your preferences, and I advise low-balling it a bit)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, which is my standard. you could sub in dark or milk if you’d like)
  • 1 cup caramel bits (I used Kraft Caramel Bits, per a different blogger’s suggestion. I recommend these vs. regular wrapped caramels because they baked in so nicely)

Step by Step Directions

Melt the butter 

  1. In a medium saucepan melt 1 cup butter over medium-low heat
  2. When butter is melted continue to cook, swirling butter constantly until it becomes a golden brown color (the butter will smell sort of nutty when it’s ready. Keep a close eye on your browning butter – it’s easy to burn it if you’re not paying attention to its progress from yellow and melted, to brown and nutty)
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes

While the butter is cooling

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside

Make your dough 

  1. In bowl of stand mixer mix butter and sugar together until combined (so you shouldn’t see separate chunks of butter and sugar anymore) 
  2. Add in eggs, the additional yolk and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  3. Add in baking soda, salt and flour. Mix on low until incorporated, then mix in crushed pretzels. (I mixed in the pretzels with my machine so they’d break into smaller pieces. I didn’t end up using the full 1.5 cups of pretzels because sometimes I get overwhelmed by too many pretzel pieces in cookies – it can overpower the actual dough)
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and caramel bits (I did this step by with a mixing spoon instead of the mixer – you don’t want to overmix the dough)
  5. Using a large cookie scoop (or a tablespoon!) drop dough on baking sheet about 2 inches apart
  6. Bake until just golden at the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Centers might not seem done yet but remove the cookies (heed this warning – cookies always set more once you’ve removed them from the oven) 
  7. Allow them to cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling

And then there’s the unofficial final step, of course: take the cookies to a bar and please your friends – and make new ones.

Cookie Butter-Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Sea Salt Sprinkle

DSCN2283Browned butter meets cookie butter in this flavorful recipe. Yes, it’s a mouthful: a mouthful of simple but delightful flavors. Browned butter adds a nutty element, while cream cheese in the dough adds a softness to the finished cookies. And when you bite into the core of the cookie, you’re rewarded with a tasty bit of cookie butter. When the cookies are hot, the cookie butter center melts out, giving you a gooey bite. Once the cookies cool, the cookie butter melds into the other flavors and adds an additional layer of depth. I made these cookies last weekend for a friend’s house party, and the plate emptied out even quicker than I expected! A quick word on cookie butter, in case you’re unfamiliar with it. Cookie butter is a paste made from crushed spiced cookies and oil. It’s been popular in Europe for quite some time, known there as “speculoos.” We have Trader Joe’s to thank for its popularity in the U.S., as they were the first brand to really market the product over here. You can find a jar at Trader Joe’s or under the Biscoff label at other grocery stores. This recipe is simple, but it does take some planning ahead to get it right. First comes browning the butter, then making the dough, then chilling the dough, then freezing the cookie butter centers – and then you bake it. I preferred these cookies cooled when the cookie butter had melded in a bit more vs. melty centers, so in the future I am going to allow time for them to fully cool, too. That’s just a personal preference though – they’re also great right out of the oven!

Cookie Butter-Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Sea Salt Sprinkle

Source: Shared Appetite Yield: My batch yielded 30 cookies. But I ate some of the dough… so you might get a few more cookies if you show better self-control! Suggested equipment: whisk, mixer Total Time: 3 hours assuming you’re only chilling the dough 2 hours, but you could make the dough ahead of time and chill up to 3 days if you wanted Cook Time: 11-15 minutes (mine took a little longer than the Shared Appetite suggestion) Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips (the recipe calls for dark but I was out, so used semi sweet) 
  • 1 jar cookie butter – you won’t use the whole jar 
  •  sea salt (you will just sprinkle this, so use as much or little as you want)

Step by Step Directions Note that any Italics below are my own comments on the Shared Appetite post. I broke the directions into a few more steps than the original blogger, too. Remember to plan ahead since there are some wait times built in here.  Brown the butter 

  1. Place butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Butter will begin to foam as it melts. The color will then progress from yellow to tan-ish to a light brown. You know the butter is done when you smell a nutty aroma. Remove pan from heat and transfer butter to a bowl to cool (there will be milk solids on the bottom of the pan. Try to leave as much of this sediment in the pan when pouring butter into bowl.)

Once the butter has cooled, make the dough

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and Kosher salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter with cream cheese, brown sugar, and granualted sugar until creamy and well-combined. Add vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated. On low, gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined, then stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Refrigerate cookie dough at least 2 hours and up to a couple days. This will allow the flavors to meld and will yield a better cookie.

Prep the cookie butter centers: 

  1. About 30 minutes before ready to bake cookies, drop approximately 30 little dollops of cookie butter (about 1 teaspoon-sized) onto a wax paper lined plate. Place in freezer and allow to firm up.

Now… bake your cookies! 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove cookie butter from freezer and cookie dough from refrigerator. Take a spoonful of cookie dough, flatten it pretty thin between the palms of your hands, place a dollop of cookie butter in the center, and form the dough around and completely encapsulate the cookie butter. Roll dough into a ball and place on baking tray. Repeat.
  2. Bake cookies for approximately 11-13 minutes, until the edges are just golden brown and the center is still a bit pale. It’s better to underbake then to overbake! Remove cookies to a cooling rack and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Devour immediately. Heed the warning and do not overbake-  they will firm up a bit!