As I write this, New York City is expecting snow. It’s hard to believe, considering that it reached 60 degrees on Wednesday, but we are all preparing for ten inches of snow. Schools are set to be closed, Trader Joe’s is out of everything, and everyone has trudged home with their essentials. I’ve got my pound of cornmeal.
Is it snowing where you are? If not, I’m giving you permission to pretend it is. Go put on your softest pajama pants. I’ll wait.
Now that you’re calling in to work and pretending you’ve got a winter wonderland outside your kitchen window, I think you should make some cookies. What says snow day comfort food more than cookies? Well, maybe Hot Chocolate. But you’ve got to have a cookie to go with it.
Today, let’s make Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread. It’s crunchy and a little crumbly, studded with nubbly bits of salty pretzel, and dipped in chocolate. It’s what salty-sweet snow day dreams are made of. The shortbread base comes together with minimal ingredients in just a few minutes and has a light caramel flavor that is out. of. this. world. It’s only enhanced by the addition of crushed honey wheat pretzels.
The dough gets pressed into an even layer and briefly frozen before being sliced into bars and baked. You will want to try these shortbread straight from the oven, but you should wait a few extra minutes to dip them in milk chocolate. Let the chocolate set and then grab two. You’re going to want two.
Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread
makes about 4 dozen
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup crushed honey wheat pretzels
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon corn syrup (or Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat until combined. Add vanilla extract and combine. With the mixer running on low, add in flour mixture in two installments, mixing until it is just incorporated. Fold in pretzels. Dough will be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.
Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment. Place dough in pan. Using another sheet of parchment, press dough into an even layer in the pan. Freeze for half an hour.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Remove dough from pan to a cutting board and use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice it into 24 pieces.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place sliced shortbread at least 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom racks at the 8 minute mark. Shortbread are done when the edges start to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.
While cookies are cooling, prepare chocolate dip. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwave for one minute. Stir. Add coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is smooth. Stir in corn syrup. Dip cookies in chocolate one by one, removing any excess with the side of a fork. Lay them on the parchment-lined sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes, or until chocolate is set.
Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.