Monday, January 27, 2014

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

This post will be part recipe, part review of one of the ingredients.

First, this recipe is a gluten-free adaptation of a recipe published in the Family Circle Magazine in December, 2013.  I had intended to try the recipe as written before I returned to the gluten-free lifestyle and did not.

Second, this recipe used a new product that has come on the market in recent months: Snyder's Gluten-free Pretzel Twists.  I love pretzels.  Big, soft, fluffy Philly pretzels (sadly, there is no real gluten-free version of THEM!), small crunchy twists, big long pretzel rods, you name it, I was an equal opportunity pretzel lover.  The first time I was gluten-free, the only options out there (and available near me) were from Glutino, and from Wylde.  Both were okay, and passable, but still lacked that "pretzel" quality that would satisfy a craving.  When I returned to gluten-free, I perused the aisle at my local grocery store and found these.
I was surprised to see that a famous Pennsylvania snack company got into the gluten-free market.  They even built a separate facility and assembly line to accommodate.  Well, if you're going to make pretzels, you really should be a famous pretzel maker.  These pretzels are DELICIOUS, seriously crunchy, salty, and have that soaked-in-baking-soda-water prior to baking taste that you used to not be able to get from a gluten-free pretzel.  Not sure how far reaching the Snyders brand is.  If you cannot find it in your local grocery/gluten-free hot spot, Glutino or Wylde will work as a substitute.

Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

1 Cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour Blend (or equivalent, use your favorite blend)
1/4 Cup Gluten-free Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Xantham Gum
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (watch your brands on this ingredient!)
1 Cup roughly chopped Gluten-free Pretzels AND approx 30 whole pretzels for garnish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugars for about 2 minutes, until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla extract.  Pour in flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.

Carefully fold in chocolate chips and gluten-free pretzels (again, pretzel pieces are optional!)

Drop tablespoons full of batter onto baking sheet, 2" apart.  Press down lightly to flatten and press a whole pretzel piece into the top of each dough ball. (I used my 1.5 Tbs cookie scoop, which I love to use, so I got less than the recipe originally called for.  I got about 2 1/2 dozen cookies).

Bake for 11 mins.

Allow to cool on cookie sheet about 2 or 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.


NOTE:  Non-gluten free taste testers of this recipe had some reviews, which may alter how YOu want to make it.  My oldest loved them (well, actually, she said they were poisonous and that she would eat them all so that no one would have to die); my husband said that the texture of the pretzels inside the cookie were off-putting, but the taste was phenomenal.  Both tried while the cookie was HOT.  I prefer cooled cookies.  I liked them.  I might either break up the pretzel pieces smaller for the inside of the cookie, which I think would give them more of a "nut" texture, or leave them out of the inside altogether, but I'm concerned it would take some of the pretzel flavor away. :), the pretzel on the top stayed nice and crunchy.  I liked them.

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