The bright and brilliant Christina Tosi once created an exquisite masterpiece known as ‘Compost Cookies’ (aka ‘Kitchen Sink Cookies’, aka ‘Garbage Cookies’) using a combination of butterscotch chips, potato chips, pretzels, oats, coffee, chocolate chips, and a homemade graham crust. While I have made and worshipped the original recipe, I must acknowledge that it takes slightly more effort than I am sometimes willing to exhaust. What follows here is a complete bastardization of the compost cookie that capitalizes on all of the salty, snacky parts while eschewing the labour-intensive steps required of the original recipe.
I wanted the last salted chocolate chunk cookie recipe that I made to have something a little different going on for it. I was actually tempted to only compare 2 recipes for this particular target (BA’s and the house-favourite Ambitious Kitchen one), but the idea of a dumbed down compost cookie kept creeping into my mind. So the notion of an easier dough with racier mix-ins was the end result. The base for these cookies is taken from The NYT’s Quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, which is a stand-up cookie recipe in and of itself. The amalgamation of these 2 recipes yielded satisfyingly crunchy edges and buttery pockets of saltiness. These are chunkier, thicker, more sink-your-teeth-into kind of cookies than the other two recipes, which lean more to the chewier, softer side of the cookie texture spectrum.
Possibly even better than getting to gorge yourself on the stoner-snack - like union of butterscotch, pretzels, and potato chips, is the fact that you can steer that combination into whatever you have/like/dream up. Super salty roasted peanuts. M&Ms. Mini peanut butter cups. Smoked Almonds. Buttered popcorn. The world is your oyster cookie.
Quintessential Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies a la Kitchen Sink
Adapted from Sherry Yard’s Quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookies (The New York Times)
Inspired by Christina Tosi’s Compost Cookies (Momofuku Milk Bar)
*It should be noted that these cookies do not claim their ‘salted’ moniker via the traditional source, but instead from the combination of potato chips and pretzels. But if you were to insist upon it, a light sprinkling of flaky salt would be entirely welcome, particularly if you pared back the amount of pretzels or chips that got tossed into the batter.
**The original recipe provided measurements in grams, which I have also included for the portion of the recipe that comes from Sherry Yard.
Makes about a dozen cookies
1 ½ cups (185 gr) AP flour (measured correctly)
½ tsp (2 gr) baking soda
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (80 gr) light brown sugar, packed
½ cup (100 gr) white sugar
¼ tsp (2 gr) salt
1 large egg
1 tsp (5 gr) vanilla extract
1 cup (225 gr) roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate
¾ cup butterscotch chips
¾ cup kettle-cooked plain potato chips, lightly broken up with hands
¾ cup pretzels (twists or sticks), lightly broken up with hands
Sift the flour and baking soda together in a small bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) cream the butter on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until it pales slightly and becomes fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugars and salt and beat/paddle for 3 minutes, until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on low until just combined. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients with a wooden spoon (you can also beat on low, but it’s easier to avoid over-mixing if you use a spoon). Fold in the chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips, pretzels, and potato chips. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Pick your own adventure: you can either scoop the cookies into balls and slightly flatten them (as suggested for the brown butter cookies) OR you can roll the chilled dough into a 2 ½ inch wide log (using parchment paper to help), fold the ends of the paper down, and chill for another hour or overnight before cutting into rounds and baking. I tried both methods and preferred the slice-n-bake version slightly better (though the rolled ones were also a success, just slightly thicker in the middle than I wanted). This version is, I suspect, harder to cut through than the original due to the addition of all those crunchy treats, so just do your best to slice and gently shape the cookies into tidy rounds. Place the rolled or sliced cookies onto a lined baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. My sliced cookies were about ½ inch thick while the rolled ones were heaping tablespoon-fuls.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and set a rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, checking after 8-9 minutes. At the 5-minute mark, rotate the sheet from front to back. The cookies will look lighter than the other 2 recipes I’ve posted, but the bottoms should be golden. Taking the cookies out of the oven for a minute to determine if they’re just slightly too wet in the centre is fine. As is popping them back in for literally just one more minute. These cookies benefit from being undercooked slightly due to all the crunch factors within them. Sprinkle the cookies with a pinch of flaky sea salt if you wish, or if you reduced the quantity of salty add-ins. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then on a rack for another 45 minutes. These cookies are better after they’ve had that slight bit of time to “set” as the pretzels seem to need to bounce back from the heat to crisp up again.