Kitchen Sink Cookies
Y’all, this cookie is what you’ve been looking for. It’s called a Kitchen Sink cookie because it has “everything but the kitchen sink,” — basically a bunch of random stuff from your pantry that baked together is absolute cookie perfection. If The Salted Cookie had a spirit animal, this Kitchen Sink Cookie would be it. This is the epitome of sweet and salty in bite-sized form. You’re supposed to make these cookies gigantic, but I’m a fan of small cookies so that I can tell myself I can have more than one and they would never actually equal a huge cookie. Same theory goes for munchkins. They never actually equal a full-sized donut. Right? Whether that math adds up or not, one thing is certain, these Kitchen Sink Cookies are worth every single calorie.
Now let me explain the real inspiration behind these kitchen sink cookies. I just started a new job last month at Panera in Boston on the digital experience team. And while yes, starting a new job comes with a lot of unknowns — will I like the work? are my coworkers nice? do stretch pants qualify as business casual? — the most nerve wrecking question that I had to answer day one: what do I put on my nametag? Now, this isn’t a question of Do I go by Rebecca or Becca at work. At Panera you have to list off your favorite menu item on your name tag. It’s a bit of a conversation starter I guess, plus everyone loves food so there’s some quick common ground. This seems like an easy question, but Homer Simpson once said: “you don’t make friends with salad,” so I wanted to list an item that would be a better conversation starter – and being The Salted Cookie – it made sense to pick a cookie. So I picked The Kitchen Sink Cookie.
However, the conversation starter went a little differently than expected every time I had to introduce myself during onboarding. Hi, I’m Becca. I’m based out of Boston and my favorite item is the Kitchen Sink Cookie. When you say that to anyone who works at Panera, their eyes bug out of their head and they all say the same thing, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN THAT?” Well no, since I’m actually a fraud and haven’t actually ever eaten the Panera Kitchen Sink Cookie. But apparently it’s 800 calories. Day-um. Side note, I’m not sure why everyone else who listed bacon mac and cheese didn’t get the same SWEET JESUS calorie reaction, but maybe people think mac and cheese is a better use of 800 calories than a cookie … but those people aren’t friends with me.
I can’t actually tell you how many calories are in this cookie recipe, but I know it’s not 800. That’s the benefit of the smaller cookie size. Though you could definitely go big and triple the size of these cookies when you bake them to get Panera-sized cookies. All I can tell you, is that these are delicious and worth every single calorie. The only ingredient that’s a little tricky to find are the Kraft caramel bits, so if you can’t locate those (I found mine at Target) you can always buy square caramels and cut them into quarters.
Same goes with the pretzels. I used the square pretzels since that’s what I had in the pantry, but you could use skinny pretzels sticks or mini pretzels broken up. Crushed up potato chips or M&Ms could be substituted in for this recipe as well. Basically you just want a combination of sweet and salty ingredients with the base cookie dough. I always recommend topping the cookie with a few spare pretzels or chocolate chips to make it extra photogenic.
So the next time you’ve got a wicked sweet and salty craving, clear out the pantry and whip up a batch of these Kitchen Sink Cookies. Enjoy!
Kitchen Sink Cookies
Yield: About 40 medium-sized cookies
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups Kraft caramel bits
- 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup small square or twist pretzels, broken
- Coarse or flaked sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the vanilla extract and eggs and beat just until the eggs are incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the dry ingredients.
- Sift together the flour and baking soda and slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter, mixing on a low speed just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Fold in the chocolate chips, caramel bits, and pretzels until evenly distributed.
- On a baking sheet lined with a sil-pat or parchment, use a medium cookie scoop to place even-sized balls of dough at least two inches apart. Top with some extra chocolate chips or pretzels, and sprinkle with a dash of sea salt.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes, just until the edges are golden brown. Let the cookies sit on the tray for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!