You’ll “Heart” White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies

Put a twist on Valentine's Day with pretzel cookies.
Put a twist on Valentine’s Day with pretzel cookies.

When it comes to romance, my husband is all about the art of subtlety.

When he proposed to me at the French Laundry, it wasn’t in the dining room, in the midst of a throng of well-heeled diners. It was in the restaurant’s parking lot as just the two of us sat in our car, and he pulled the ring out of his pocket.

When he buys me flowers, it’s not because it’s some Hallmark holiday. It’s because he just spies a pretty bouquet that he knows will unexpectedly make my day.

And when he wants to express his love these days, his favorite way is to flash the Korean finger heart symbol at me, because, yes, in the pandemic, he’s become addicted to Korean dramas like so many others.

That’s why these “White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies” are right up his alley.

This is how you make the Korean finger heart.
This is how you make the Korean finger heart.

First, they feature white chocolate, which can be polarizing to some, but which he actually likes.

Second, they get fortified with and crowned whimsically with mini pretzels, whose classic looped knot shape slyly resembles a heart.

This cute cookie is from “Maman: The Cookbook: All-Day Recipes to Warm Your Heart” (Clarkson Potter, 2021), of which I received a review copy, by Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte. The couple are the founders and co-owners of Maman, the bakery-cafe with locations throughout New York, as well as in Montreal, and Toronto. The book was written with food writer and recipe developer Lauren Salkeld.

The couple named the cafe for the word “mother” in French to evoke the cozy, homespun environment they wanted to create.

Through the book’s 100 recipes, you get that vibe through delights such as “Creme Fraiche Pancakes,” “Marion’s Zucchini Bread with Cheddar and Leeks,” “Cauliflower Grilled Cheese with Romesco Dipping Sauce,” and “Lavender Hot Chocolate Tart.”

The cookies call for white chocolate baking wafers, but I used white chocolate chips, which worked just fine. I noted that as an option in the recipe below. Truth be told, you could even use semi-sweet or dark chocolate instead for another scrumptious alternative.

Along with the white chocolate, there’s a generous amount of chopped pretzels in this buttery, vanilla-scented dough.

Portion the dough into balls, pressing a whole mini pretzel on top of each one, before sliding the tray into the oven.

Be sure to buy extra pretzels because you know you'll be munching them as you make these cookies.
Be sure to buy extra pretzels because you know you’ll be munching them as you make these cookies.

The cookies bake up thick, dense and crunchy through and through with the very center just ever so cakey-soft. Sweet with just a hint of saltiness, these cookies are pure fun to bite into.

And they demonstrate just how the smallest of gestures often leave the sweetest impression.

White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies

(Makes about 12-14 cookies)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white chocolate baking wafers (such as Guittard) or chips

1 cup salted mini pretzels, roughly chopped, plus whole mini pretzels for garnish

Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and salt and beat on medium, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, for about 2 minutes to fully combine. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition and mixing until the dough starts sticking to the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes total. Add the vanilla and mix for a few seconds to incorporate. Add the flour in 2 batches and mix on low just until no flour is visible, about 1 minute. Add the baking wafers or chips and the roughly chopped pretzels and fold with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds to evenly distribute.

Scoop the dough into roughly 1/4-cup portions and using your hands, roll each portion into a ball. Arrange the balls of dough on the prepared sheet pans, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Top each dough with a pretzel, pressing firmly to flatten the cookie slightly.

Transfer one sheet pan to the oven and bake, rotating the sheet pan as needed for even baking, until the bottoms and edges are browned but the centers are still a little gooey, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on the sheet pan for at least 10 minutes, then enjoy them right away or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 20 minutes. Repeat to bake the remaining cookies.

To store: Cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Adapted from “Maman: The Cookbook” by Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte with Lauren Salkeld

More Recipes for White Chocolate Lovers: Big White Chocolate, Almond and Cherry Cookies by Joanne Chang

And: Caramelized White Chocolate and Toasted Milk Cookies

And: Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Blondies

And: Dark and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Ginger

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  • Fun French Laundry story! And such a nice cookie — look great, nice flavor. A bit subtle — perfect for your husband. And all of us!

  • Hi John: You’re welcome! Happy Valentine’s Day. 😉

  • My husband’s favorite cookie is white chocolate/macadamia nut, followed closely by butter pecan with white chocolate chips. And he is pretty much addicted to pretzels in any form. Thinking these will very quickly become “Top Three” contenders…possibly with a few chapped mac nuts thrown into the mix just for good measure. Thanks for another sure winner, Carolyn!

  • Hi Carroll: Some chopped up macadamias would be ideal in this cookie. Enjoy! Wishing you and your hubby a lovely Valentine’s Day!

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