Chocolate Pretzel Cookies are amazingly delicious, soft cookies that look like pretzels. They are shaped like a pretzel. They are sprinkled with coarse sugar to look like salt on a pretzel. But Pretzel Cookies are made from a rich chocolate dough accented with cinnamon and espresso. A frosty mug of milk is the perfect beverage pairing with this kind of pretzel.
About 22 years ago, when my son was just months old and my daughter was five, the two of them held a secret summit meeting to plan their future as siblings. They scoffed at their mother’s ridiculous notion that, by spacing their births five years apart, a future of overlapping graduations and other life cycle events could be avoided. I am not sure, but my beloved children may have placed bets on how quickly they would make me realize my foolishness.
I don’t know who won the bet, but I soon learned that plans are one thing, and life is another. Despite my mathematical calculations, my daughter graduated college on the same weekend that my son graduated high school. Luckily, a quick 600 mile round trip enabled us to attend both! This summer I was thrilled that my daughter’s grad school graduation was two weeks before my son’s college graduation!
My kids may still be devising ways to illustrate my faulty plan, as both are moving this summer. Two different cities, at least 300 miles apart. I will get my moving muscles warmed up on my daughter’s move, then hone those skills a few weeks later, helping my son. Again, I have learned to be delighted that they aren’t moving on the same weekend! All very good things. Life requires some flexibility. I am having a busy, juggling kind of summer. So maybe I was feeling a bit twisted in various directions when pretzel cookies came to mind.
One bite of Chocolate Pretzel Cookies and thoughts of hectic schedules fade away into chocolate bliss. These cookies are soft with only a slight crunch from the sugar coating. The deeply chocolate flavor is spiced up with cinnamon and espresso. It does take time to make these. To achieve the soft and tender texture of the cookie, the dough is rather soft. Shaping the pretzel knot requires firming the dough in the fridge several times. If you have the time, the results are impressive and fun. No time (or patience) but craving deliciousness? This dough can, and should, be used to make regular scoop-and-drop cookies instead of twisting and shaping into pretzels.
The original recipe gave no clues as to how to handle the very soft dough. The first batch was addictingly delicious, but incredibly ugly. I tried a variety of cookie sizes and shaping methods. Though my final method does take time for repeatedly chilling the dough, the resulting cookies are fairly consistent in shape and size, which is important for even baking.
This is the method I used. After mixing the dough, use a 2T medium scoop to place balls of dough (about 26 grams each) onto a wax paper lined baking sheet for chilling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm. I then used a sheet of wax paper for each dough ball to shape them into ropes. Remove one firmed dough ball at a time from the fridge. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of wax paper. Use hands and fingers to roll/stretch the dough into a rope 10”- 11” long. Wrap the excess wax paper around the dough rope and place in the freezer to firm for at least 15 minutes. Repeat with all of the dough balls.
Remove several firmed dough ropes at a time from the freezer. Allow the ropes to warm just until bendable. Fold into pretzel shapes on top of the wax paper, flip over (so the rope ends are on top) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. The cookies are brushed with an egg white wash and sprinkled with sugar on the baking sheet.
The only problem with these gorgeous Chocolate pretzel Cookies is that they won’t stick around long. I wasn’t kidding when I said they are addictingly delicious. When stored in airtight wrapping, these cookies retain their softness for up to a week, making them a great treat for a special care package. Baked for the cookie jar at home, it’s not likely that shelf life will ever be a concern.
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For decorating: ¼ cup course white decorating sugar
- 1 egg white mixed with 2 teaspoons water
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in egg and vanilla.
- Gradually mix in the flour mixture, until incorporated.
- Use a 2T medium scoop to place balls of dough (about 26 grams each) onto a wax paper lined baking sheet for chilling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut 24 pieces of wax paper about 8” each.
- Remove one firmed dough ball at a time from the fridge. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of wax paper. Use hands and fingers to roll/stretch the dough into a rope 10”- 11” long.
- Fold the wax paper over the dough. Holding the bottom edge of the wax paper, press the edge of a ruler on top of the wax paper against the bottom edge of the dough rope. This will compress the dough rope into a rounded strip.
- Wrap the excess wax paper around the dough rope and place in the freezer to firm for at least 15 minutes. Repeat with all of the dough balls.
- Remove several dough strips at a time from the freezer. Allow the strips to warm just until bendable. Fold into pretzel shapes and place on a prepared baking sheet 2” apart.
- Brush each cookie with egg white mixture and sprinkle with decorating sugar. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should be firm to the touch. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.