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August 17, 2018

Everything Chocolate PB & Pretzel Cookies | Freezer Cookies Tips

 What is it about back to school time that makes me want to stock the cookie jar?  Mike and Emma only like regular chocolate chip cookies.  Ugh.  I need a little variety!  Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter, Sugar...  

They could eat chocolate chip cookies, boxes of brownies and plain chocolate cake their entire life and be fulfilled.  It makes it hard for me to want to come up with new recipes when they always ask for the classics.  However, when Emma was at school this week, I took it upon myself to experiment.  I started with their favorite chocolate chip recipe (tollhouse, but I use a little extra brown sugar and a little less white to make chewier) and added lots of yummy things - PB Chips, Chocolate Chips, Pretzels and Flaked Sea Salt.

They loved them!  Yay for a new favorite!

After school bliss after a long day in 1st Grade.   Sometimes I miss the lazy days of summer, but I also love a clean house, a full cookie jar and after school rituals : )  I pick Emma up from school everyday.  Those three hours we spend together before Mike gets home are so magic.  So many warm fuzzy feelings with after school routines - the walk home, snacks, hearing about the day, playing and dinner prep together.  After working by myself earlier in the day, I'm re-energized and ready to be a "stay-at-home" mom again in the afternoon.  I really make every effort to put down my phone and free my brain to piddle with Emma, laundry, time in the yard, dinner and keeping house.

I've just added/restocked one of my favorite baking essentials -  [Baking Scoops](  Every single time I made cookies, I scoop half of the dough into balls to bake immediately,  then I scoop the rest into balls that go in the freezer.  It is so nice to have them to pull out for last minute desserts or after school snacks if Emma has a friend over.  We serve them at dinner parties all of the time with decaf coffee - adults love fresh baked cookies warm out of the oven, too : )
Tip : I line them up on a small sheet pan lined with parchment paper, then freeze them directly on the pan.  After about an hour I take them out and put them into a freezer bag.  This helps them not stick together while they are freezing.
Small : 0.875 oz  (Pictured here.  I use this for regular size cookies + small muffins)
Large : 2.75 oz  (I use this for cupcakes and large cookies)
Note : These are scooped for the freezing.  For baking, I would spread them out and do about 8-10 per large sheet, 4-5 per small sheet.
I store all of our chips and goodies in my Plastic Kitchen Containers, (18 for $8) in the kitchen.  It keeps the pantry from overflowing with half-used bags of chips, nuts and sprinkles.  Also, I find that I always have a little left in multiple bags of chocolate chips that just sort of bury themselves in the pantry, so this way they are easily combined.
Everything Chocolate PB & Pretzel Cookies
2 sticks of salted butter, softened/room temp
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips*
1/2 cup of peanut butter chips*
1/2 cup of pretzels*
flaked sea salt

Begin by creaming together butter and sugars in a mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla and eggs, mix again until smooth.  Add in flower, salt and baking soda, along with chocolate chips, PB chips and half of the pretzels - reserve some of each type of chip from the mixture.  I put them on top of each cookie ball before baking to make them look extra loaded.  Mix together slowly just until combined.  
Scoop cookies onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (you can find in my store, here).  I use a small scoop for regular cookies and a large scoop for extra large cookies.  (Scoops, here >). Put some broken pieces of pretzels and extra chips on each pretzel.  Sprinkle a big of flaked sea salt on each, also.
Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.  They might seem slightly soft in the middle, but keeping them on the hot pan when you take them out of the oven usually finishes the cooking perfectly.

I like putting the chips, etc. in with the flour, then the flour sort of coats the chips and helps them not settle to the bottom while baking.

Note : These are scooped for the freezing.  For baking, I would spread them out and do about 8-10 per large sheet, 4-5 per small sheet.

Small Baking Sheet
Large Baking Sheet
Parchment Paper

Topped with pretzel pieces before baking/freezing.  This gives them extra crunch on top - and you can see that there are pretzels inside!

They take just a few minutes longer to bake when frozen.  I put them still frozen on the baking sheet and let them baking for about 10-12 minutes.  They are actually better after having been frozen... not sure why, but true!

In the freezer!  

I boxed up some for a birthday gift for a friend in my Navy Wellie Boxes.  They would make such a cute Back-to-School Gift for a teacher, too.  They are perfect for cookies or gift cards.

Navy Wellie Boxes, here >

Our gift was actually a 40th Birthday for one of Mike's friends... so, we also brought along a bottle of bourbon.  Swap bottle of wine and would be perfect for a hostess gift.  If we are going to a friend's home we usually bring something baked and a bottle of wine.

I hope everyone is having a great back-to-school!  

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