Do you love sweet and salty tastes together, or is it just me? Consider–hot salty French fries dipped in sweet, cold ice cream? Love that. Cold sweet watermelon with just a sprinkling of salt? Oh yeah, baby, bring it on. Salty nuts dumped with wild abandonment on top of a bowlful of ice cream? Mmm, yes, you talked me into it.
I saw a recipe years ago for cookies with crushed pretzels in them, and after I got over the initial “Pretzels in cookies, whaaa?” and looked closely at the recipe, I realized that actually it was that sweet and salty together wonderfulness that I was looking at. I decided that they’d be the perfect cookies to go with our big graduation bash that we threw to celebrate Timothy’s graduation.
So I printed off the recipe, fiddled with it a little, and then . . . asked my Mom to make them for me. I don’t refuse her help when she offers! Yes, she asked if there was anything that she could do (she’s great like that). And yes, Mom is the baker of the perfect cookies. And they turned out beautiful and so yummy. Mom never disappoints. Pity I was too busy to take a picture!
Fast-forward a few years and I’m looking over all my favorite Christmas cookie recipes and making my plan for what to make . . . my Mom’s Springerle with that wonderful anise taste and the pillowy shapes, my Dad’s pfefferneuse, my Grandma Young’s divinity, and then these Russian tea cakes that stir together so quickly . . . and of course these cinnamon-sugar favorites are important too . . . so many great choices! Then I looked over my pantry stash and saw M&Ms, coconut, pretzels, gumdrops, chocolate chips . . . and I remembered these cookies.
They are sweet and salty together, chewy and crunchy, and totally addicting. And they are not fussy to mix up. If you have littles who like to help in the kitchen, there are plenty of little jobs that they can do next to you (crushing pretzels, cutting up gumdrops, sampling the M&Ms, etc.).
I could go on (you know that I could!), but then it would be just that much longer before you could make these cookies, so I’ll cut to the chase and just share this fabulous recipe with you, already. Originally it came from Taste of Home, though I’ve made it even better by adding a few things.
Note: You can fiddle with the types of add-ins–changing the gum drops to another type of candies, for example–but keep the quantities roughly the same.
- 2 cups butter, unsalted, softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 4 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 5 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 cups miniature pretzels, broken
- 3 cups flaked coconut
- 2 cups milk chocolate M&M’s
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup gumdrops, cut in halves
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
- Stir in remaining ingredients. The dough will be stiff! Also, delicious!
- Eat the M&Ms that fall to the bottom of the bowl. No, really, that's part of the recipe, trust me. Do it. Have a glass of milk, while you're at it.
- Shape dough into balls (about ¼ cup) and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 12-14 minutes or until just golden.
- Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Now, gather up your supplies and make cookies! Have fun! Lick the bowl and share with others.
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