Almost weekly, I find myself baking a batch of cookies on Friday nights as a treat for my family. I love being able to share the warm cookies after dinner and then have some leftovers to enjoy with coffee over the weekend. However, picking a cookie that everyone agrees on isn’t always the simplest of tasks.
There’s a little something for everyone when you make kitchen sink cookies, the ultimate have-it-your-way treat. These colossal cookies use brown sugar and melted butter to keep them moist, soft, and chewy. The mix-ins, which are wildly adaptable to suit any palate, hit chocolatey, salty, nutty, sweet, and sticky notes for a deeply flavored cookie.
The hardest part about making these cookies is deciding what mix-ins to use, so I’ve done all the work of figuring out how to create the perfect blend. These cookies come together quickly (without a mixer), making them a wonderful anytime treat.
Where Does the Name Come From?
Kitchen sink cookies are a play on the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink.” The idea is that the cookies are packed with everything you could think of, be it salty, sweet, or anything in between. When packed with mix-ins that hit all those different flavor notes, the resulting cookies deliver big time on flavor and texture.
A Guide to Mix-Ins
This cookie’s best quality is how riffable it is. My favorite combination of ingredients (also listed in the recipe) are semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks, salted, ridged potato chips, salted pretzels, roasted peanuts, and toffee bits, but the world is your oyster when it comes to adding mix-ins.
To ensure a balanced cookie, I’ve provided amounts for each type of mix-in (chocolatey, salty, nutty, and chewy/sticky). Below are examples of mix-ins that fit into each category with my tips on each:
- Chocolatey: Examples include semi-sweet, milk, dark, and white chocolate chips or chunks and/or chocolate candies such as M&M’s or peanut butter cups. Cookies using all M&M’s, milk, or white chocolate will lean sweeter, semi-sweet will fall in the middle (my ideal choice), and dark chocolate will lean less sweet. I recommend using either all semi-sweet chocolate or a combination of chocolates (like half milk and half dark or half peanut butter cups and half semi-sweet).
- Salty: Examples include potato chips and pretzels. I like to use a combination of the two for their varying textures, but you can absolutely use just one. Be sure to crush the chips or pretzels before measuring or weigh using a scale. If using potato chips, I opt for a regular, salted, ridged potato chip. I find ridged chips to have the best texture when baked in the cookie—crisp, but not hard. For pretzels, I like salted twist pretzels, though thin sticks can also work. Avoid the bigger, thicker rods.
- Nutty: Examples include peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and/or unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut chips. I prefer unsalted, toasted nuts here (leave coconut untoasted) for their deeper flavor. Take care to chop any whole nuts first before measuring by volume. Chopping allows for better distribution and texture.
- Chewy/sticky: Examples include toffee bits, finely chopped caramels, and/or dried fruits. For larger dried fruits, give them a good chop before measuring by volume. Plain toffee bits aren’t always available, but a good alternative that I use often are chopped chocolate-covered toffee bars, like Heath. Finely chopped caramels provide a nice chew, but can be pretty sweet, so take care to balance it out with your other ingredients.
Even More Mix-In Variations and Substitutions!
And while these ingredients cover the four main categories in this recipe, what would these kitchen sink cookies be without even more options? For the ingredients that overlap in categories, consider replacing some of the mix-ins from each.
- Alternates: Don’t like chocolate? No problem. Swap in peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips.
- Additions: Try swirling a spoonful or two of peanut butter (such as Skippy) or Nutella into the dough. Stir it in just enough to leave streaks through the dough and not to fully combine.
- Alternates/Additions: This is usually where candies fit in. Examples include Twix bars, chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut M&M’s, Snickers bars, Rolos, and Reese’s Pieces.
How to Freeze
Like most drop cookies, these can be scooped, frozen, and baked at a later time. To freeze for later, scoop the dough and place on a lined baking sheet as instructed in the recipe. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and freeze for 15 minutes to an hour. Instead of baking as instructed, transfer the cookie dough portions in a single layer to a resealable plastic bag, press all the air out, and seal the bag. Return the bag to the freezer and freeze for up to 2 months.
To bake, prepare the oven and baking sheets as instructed. Bake the cookie dough from frozen, adding a few extra minutes of bake time after the pans are rotated.
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Combine the dry ingredients:
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder to combine and set aside.
Combine the wet ingredients:
In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla with a rubber spatula until well combined and the mixture is glossy and almost creamy looking.
Add the eggs to the butter mixture and beat together with the spatula until the eggs are completely broken up and fully combined with the butter mixture.
Finish the dough:
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until the flour mixture is almost fully combined. A few dry streaks of flour are okay.
Add the chocolatey, salty, nutty, and chewy/sticky mix-ins to the dough and gently stir until all the mix-ins are evenly distributed, taking care not to break up any delicate mix-ins (such as potato chips) too much.
Portion the dough and chill:
Line a small rimmed baking sheet (or alternatively a plate) with parchment paper. Using a 2 1/2-inch scoop or measuring cup, divide the dough into 1/3 cup portions to yield 13 to 16 portions and place on the lined baking sheet. Transfer the scooped dough to the freezer to chill until firm while the oven preheats, about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheets:
Arrange the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Bake the cookies:
Arrange the chilled portions of dough on the lined baking sheets spaced about 3 inches apart. Bake at 350°F for 8 minutes, until the cookies are starting to spread. Rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Bake until the cookies are light golden and set in the center and just turning golden brown around the edges, an additional 6 to 9 minutes (14 to 17 minutes total).
Let the cookies cool on their baking sheets set over wire racks for a few minutes, then transfer to the wire racks to cool completely.
Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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