I had a BIG craving for salty-sweet stuff. And halt! I know these don’t have sprinkles but I was admittedly trying to fulfill a craving, and stumbled onto something definitely delicious.
These cookies have elements of savory: the salty pretzel, the creamy peanut butter. Then they have sweeter elements. Aside from being a great cookie base, they have a filling made with white chocolate peanut butter and brown rice syrup, which give it a more gentle sweetness. The saltiness I mentioned before brings out so much of the cookie’s own, otherwise forgotten light vanilla flavor. So, these to me are a royal success.
Don’t feel fatigued by the instructions just yet! These are well worth the extra bit of effort.
Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups broken thin pretzel sticks
- 2 buttery sticks (1 cup vegan butter), at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 Ener-G Egg Replacers, prepared
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter & Co.’s White Chocolate Wonderful)
- 3 tbsp brown rice syrup
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Pack about 2-3 handfuls of the pretzel sticks into a freezer bag and using a rolling pin, crush into crumbs.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until fluffy.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg replacers, agave nectar, vanilla and salt, then add it to the large bowl with the butter to beat until incorporated. Remember to scrape your bowl to ensure an even consistency.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and pretzel crumbs little at a time until all are added and combined evenly, being careful not to over mix.
- Using the same method from Step 2, crush remaining pretzels with a rolling pin into small pieces, then place into a pan or a baking sheet. Using a scoop or two spoons, shape balls of dough and lightly roll them into the pretzel pieces being sure to press a bit for pretzels to stick. Then, place the cookie balls onto a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove your trays from the fridge and place racks into your preheated oven. Be sure to move your cookies so that there is about an inch between them because they will spread when they bake.
- Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a deep indent into each cookie, being careful not to poke through.
- Bake cookies for about 16-18 minutes so they are lightly golden, revolving the trays midway.
- After you remove your cookies, the indent may have disappeared slightly. Carefully use the tip of a spoon and move it in a circular pattern on the top of the cookie to recreate a crevice deep enough for the filling. Allow cookies to cool on the trays for about 5 minutes, then move to cooling racks.
While the cookies are cooling, prepare your filling:
- In a small saucepan, heat the peanut butter over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Add your brown rice syrup and maple syrup, then turn off heat. Mix the peanut butter and syrups until well combined. Allow to cool a bit, about 7 or 8 minutes before using.
- Once your filling has cooled, using a regular spoon, drop in about a tbsp of the filling into each cookie, until filling is gone. The filling won’t need to set for long but you may like to chill them at this point for a few minutes until filling completely sets. You could also sprinkle a bit of fleur de sel, or kosher salt for a salted caramel flavor.