Pretzels, granola bring salty crunch to these Magical Cookies

Barbara Reiss was stuck in New Orleans one Christmas because it was too snowy in New York for her to fly home.

She was with her sister, who was a teacher and always received piles of granola, pretzels and nuts for Christmas from her students, and they decided to use those snacks in their own version of a kitchen sink cookie. Use any combination of salty, crunchy snacks you might find in the pantry. (And Reiss has tried them all, including Triscuits, which she does not recommend. Pretzels hold their crunch better, she reports.)

Barbara Reiss' Magical Cookies (at 1 o'clock on this clock o' cookies) are made with salty, crunchy snacks you might find in your pantry. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Barbara Reiss’ Magical Cookies (at 1 o’clock on this clock o’ cookies) are made with salty, crunchy snacks you might find in your pantry. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

As Reiss says, these cookies are fun, flexible, not fancy but really delicious. Ever since her husband and brother-in-law called them the best cookies ever at Christmas that year, she’s made them for birthday parties, gifts and celebrations.

“In our family, cookies make miracles,” she says.

Magical Cookies

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup granola (or other cereal, such as rolled oats)
1/2 cup crushed salted pretzel pieces (or other salty snack food)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, chopped chocolate candies, or a small bar of good dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts (optional)

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again.

Using a wooden spoon or a mixer on slow speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add granola, pretzels, chocolate and nuts and mix until well incorporated, ensuring that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed. (Restrain yourself from eating the raw cookie dough.)

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough into balls, each about 1 1/2 tablespoons, then roll between palms until smooth. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart, or about 8 to 12 per sheet. Freeze at least 20 minutes or refrigerate at least one hour before baking. (They will still spread a lot.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through.

Let cool completely before gently moving cookies to wire rack. They will be fragile, especially on the edges. Makes 24 to 30 cookies.

— From Barbara Reiss


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