Hedy Goldsmith’s Junk in Da’ Trunk Cookies

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Sweet, chocolate-y, salty, buttery, peanut-y, malt-y, caramel-y — all my favorite flavors in one cookie–these are everybody’s favorite cookie.  I think about Michelle when I make these — she used to love Maltesers.   From Goldsmith’s crazy Baking Out Loud cookbook.

When measuring out the junk, the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of each — but I would make that a short half cup — I always have quite a bit left over and no dough left — and so unfortunately, I have to eat that.

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Making this batch for Mom and Mark and Tony.

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Makes 16 (2½-inch) cookies
• 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
• ¾ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
• 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona 70%), cut into ½-inch pieces (I agree with her that Valrhona is amazing, but I’ve also used Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate PIECES, not chips, and they are super melty and gooey.
• ½ cup lightly crushed kettle-cooked potato chips
• ½ cup coarsely chopped salted pretzels
• ½ cup Kraft caramels cut into quarters (Goldsmith’s original recipe calls for butterscotch morsels but those have kind of an icky aftertaste to me)
• 12 malted milk balls, cut in half (about ½ cup)
• ½ cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
• Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (Maldon or fleur de sel)

1. Sift together the flour and baking soda.

2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until soft and smooth. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until just blended. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.

4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate, potato chips, pretzels, caramels or butterscotch morsels, malted milk balls, and peanuts. Stir until just blended. Don’t be concerned if it seems like there is more junk than cookie dough.

5. Using a 3-tablespoon ice cream scoop, shape the dough into balls and arrange them close together on a large plate or small baking sheet.

6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until well chilled. The dough can also be covered and refrigerated overnight, or up to 2 days before baking. Reminder: Cold dough bakes better.

7. Position the oven racks in the upper middle and lower middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350ºF (335ºF if using a convection oven). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Arrange the chilled dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the palm of your hand, flatten each dough ball slightly. Sprinkle the tops with a little large flake sea salt.

8. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes (8 to 9 minutes if using a convection oven), switching the baking sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until light golden brown. These cookies are at their best when slightly underbaked and the chocolate looks oozy and gooey. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days and, very important, reheat before serving.  They’re better oozy!!

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