I will forever be a cookie/brownie girl. FOREVER. As I’ve mentioned before, Cookie Monster is my spirit animal. This could only mean that my love for chocolate chip cookies lives on.
What could be better than deliciously nutty brown butter chocolate chip cookies with crunchy pretzels inside! They come together pretty easily. I adapted my own chocolate chip cookies recipe with the exception of browning butter and adding salty, crunchy pretzels. SO EASY.
Let’s make them!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Brown butter. Always use unsalted butter as it gives you complete control over the flavor of a recipe except for this recipe, we’re browning the butter. More on that later.
- Brown sugar and granulated sugar. Sugar is what keeps cookies soft in general plus when you add more brown sugar than granulated sugar, the cookies will result in an even chewier texture with a caramel-like taste because of the molasses.
- Egg. This acts as a binder that binds all the ingredients together.
- Vanilla extract and salt. The best flavor enhancers.
- All-purpose flour. The most versatile flour that gives these cookies structure. Be careful not to overmix the dough as it may result in pancake-like cookies.
- Baking soda. This acts as the leavener helping these cookies rise a bit without letting them spread too thin.
- Pretzels and dark chocolate. The best salty, sweet, chocolate flavors!
What is brown butter?
First things first, let’s talk about what exactly is brown butter. Put simply, brown butter is just butter that is melted in a pan until golden brown. It has a really nutty, caramelized aroma which pairs SO well with chocolate chip cookies amongst other baked goods.
How To Brown Butter for Cookies
- Use unsalted butter. Technically, you can use any butter for brown butter however for this recipe I recommend unsalted butter since we’re adding salt to the recipe and using pretzels. You don’t want these cookies to be too salty.
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature. If you use cold butter, you run the risk of burning the butter when you’re cooking it.
- Careful not to let it burn. Melt the butter in a pan for approximately 5 minutes at medium heat, while stirring, until the butter foams and little brown specks appear. Don’t walk away from the pan!
- Let It cool. Once the butter turns an amber color and has a nutty aroma, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a small bowl to cool.
- Add water or milk. Ok I know this sounds weird but hear me out. When you brown butter, you typically lose a little bit of moisture needed for these cookies so I like to stir in 2 teaspoons of water or milk to the brown butter to make up for that loss.
How To Make These Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies
- Preheat the oven. You always want to preheat the oven about 20 minutes before baking cookies. You can check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer to make sure it is properly heating up.
- Make the cookie dough batter. In a mixer or large bowl, cream the cooled brown butter and sugars together. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and well combined. To the same bowl, add flour, baking soda, and salt. (Hooray for one-bowl cookie recipes!) Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Do NOT over mix or you run the risk of having flat, pancake cookies. Fold in the chopped chocolate and crushed pretzels. Folding means using a spatula to mix it slowly until just combined.
- Form the cookie dough balls. Using this cookie scoop, form the dough into balls. Each dough ball should be 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough. Place them on a baking sheet and refrigerate the dough balls for, at least, 20 minutes (the longer, the better). You can freeze any leftover dough for future use.
- Bake these chocolate chip and pretzel cookies! When ready to bake, remove dough from the fridge. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place dough balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. It’s ok if they are a little undercooked, they will continue to bake as they cool. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
The best tips for the perfect chocolate chip pretzel cookies from scratch
- Follow directions to a T. First, make sure to follow the recipe exactly as it is stated below. Baking is not like cooking; any minimal change may alter the final result.
- Don’t over mix. Make sure you DO NOT over mix the wet and dry ingredients. It’ll let air into the batter and make the cookies go flat.
- Baking soda only! Make sure you’re using baking soda, not baking powder. Huge difference. If you use baking powder, you may end up with rock hard cookies.
- Just chill man. Yes, chilling the cookies in the fridge for at least 20 minutes is annoying but I guarantee the longer you chill the dough, the better the flavor will be.
- Underbake them. To keep these cookies soft, make sure you bake them for no more than 11 minutes. You want them to be slightly underbaked. They will continue to cook as they cool anyway however it does help them stay softer for a longer time.
- Let them cool. Once you take them out of the oven, let them cool completely before serving. Place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. When you’re ready to eat, just pop one in the microwave for 10 seconds.
How to store these chocolate chip pretzel cookies
Once the cookies have cooled completely, transfer them to an airtight container to retain their soft, chewy texture. They will stay fresh for 1 week at room temperature. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
- 1/2 cup unsalted browned butter, instructions below
- 2 teaspoons water or milk
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup crushed mini pretzels
- Flaky sea salt for garnish
- To make the brown butter, melt 1/2 cup of unsalted butter in a pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the butter foams and little brown specks appear. Be careful not to let it burn! Once the butter turns an amber color and has a nutty aroma, remove it from the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of water or milk (to make up for the loss of moisture) to the brown butter. Transfer it to a small bowl to cool to room temperature.
- In a bowl or stand mixer, cream together the room temperature brown butter with the sugars for a few minutes. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
- Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined. Careful NOT to over mix or you may end up with flat cookies. Fold in chocolate chips and crushed mini pretzels.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, form cookie doughs into balls (1 1/2 tablespoons size). Place the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet and freeze the dough balls for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place dough balls on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10-11 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with flaky sea salt. It's ok if they are a little undercooked, they will continue to bake as they cool. Enjoy!
Originally posted in October 2018. Updated photos in December 2020.