Mixing pretzels into my cookies, isn’t something I would have done a couple months ago. I tend to reserve bagged convenience store treats for rare moments of indulgence (or weakness...call it what you will). Safe to say: it’s not exactly the ingredient that begs to be nestled into homemade vegan and gluten-free cookies. But as I’ve been recently reminded, life doesn’t always have to make sense. And apparently, neither do my cookie cravings - especially if they turn out as delicious as these.
The idea for salted dark chocolate pretzel cookies came to me while on the road, which is where I’ve been spending a lot of time. A couple months ago, I got a call that I never wanted to receive. It was life, smacking me in the face. Pretty hard. It kicked off a stint of road trips: 500 miles every weekend, to visit one of my favorite humans as many times as I could while we still had the chance. When you log 3500+ miles in a condensed period of time, you get to know the highway gas stations quite well. Convenience store pit-stops quickly became the most reliable part of a totally unpredictable couple of months. And I (begrudgingly) embraced it.
On one of these trips, I got the urge to save my half-eaten bag of gas station pretzels for some baking at home. Being away from the kitchen definitely made me miss it. And all I wanted to do was toss some salty pretzels into cookie batter. Alongside plenty of dark chocolate. So I did. Because if these past couple months have taught me anything, it’s that there’s no better time than the present. Carpe diem, people. And don’t forget it.
After a number of attempts, I can now report that a) dark chocolate + pretzel is an epic combination (duh), and more importantly, b) this cookie combo can be made vegan and gluten free. I couldn’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve tested these (Anguel swears it’s over ten, I think closer to eight). But it was all in the name of developing a reliable cookie that works time and time again. Because this is my new favorite cookie, and you can bet I’ll be making it for years to come. The final recipe, is pretty damn close to perfection: the cookies are soft, tender and totally addictive. They’re loaded with dark chocolate, topped with flaky sea salt, and packed with pretzel bits for some extra crunch. Insanely good. I hope you like them as much as we do!
Salted Dark Chocolate Pretzel Cookies
- ⅔ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup almond butter (smooth and unsalted, see note 1)
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil (softened)
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- ⅓ cup arrowroot flour
- 2 to 3 tablespoons non dairy milk (unflavored and unsweetened, at room temperature, see note 2)
- 1 cup chopped dark chocolate (more for garnish)
- ¾ cup chopped pretzels (see note 3)
- Flaky sea salt (for garnish)
- Preheat: Preheat oven to 350°F (190°C).
- Pulse oats: Add oats to a food processor and pulse until they resemble a rough flour. Set aside.
- Start mixing dough: In a large bowl, stir together almond butter, coconut oil, and coconut sugar until smooth. Add vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir vigorously until well mixed.
- Add remaining ingredients: Add almond flour, stir until well mixed. Add arrowroot flour, stir until well mixed. Add oat flour (from food processor), stir until well mixed. Add 2 tablespoons of the non-dairy milk, stir to mix. Fold in chocolate and pretzels. If the dough seems dry, add the remaining 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk.
- Scoop dough: Scoop golf-ball sized balls of dough (2½ to 3 tablespoons), then roll each between the palm of your hands until they're smooth balls. Arrange some of the balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, with about 2-inches of space for spreading. Use the palm of your hand to lightly flatten the rounded tops of the cookies. If you love chocolate, add a few extra chocolate pieces on top for garnish (optional)
- Bake: Bake the cookies until the edges are set, about 8 to 10 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, sprinkle flaky salt on top. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, before gently transferring to a cooling rack to fully cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Almond butter: Make sure your almond butter is smooth and liquidy. If your almond butter has hardened, use a food processor to mix it until it softens. You can add a bit of coconut butter to help it loosen up, if needed. If you don't have a food processor, mix vigorously by hand and avoid the dry/firm almond butter at the bottom of the jar.
- Arrowroot powder substitute: You can use an equal amount of cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder. For best results measure by weight.
- Non dairy milk: Room temperature (rather than cold) will prevent the coconut oil from firming up when the milk is added.
- Measuring by weight: For the most reliable results, we recommend measuring by weight when baking. Ingredient weights are provided in metric. If you must go by volume (measuring cups), make sure to fluff, spoon, and level the flour and arrowroot powder to avoid adding too much.