Sweet & Salty Kitchen Sink Cookies {Panera Copycat}

These are the best cookies I've made in awhile. Like...can't get enough of them. Which makes sense because they're modeled after another cookie I couldn't get out of my head: the kitchen sink cookies at Panera.

At one of our meetings with a bride, my boss and I had a couple kitchen sink cookies at Panera. And I knew I needed to recreate them. They were HUGE (like...bigger than these ones. For the first time in my life I struggled with making cookies big enough!) And had pretzels and little bits of caramel and chocolate chips and...of course...there was sea salt on top. So-pretty simple to recreate actually. I amped up the flavor an extra notch by using one of my favorite browned butter cookie bases, because--why wouldn't I?


Ingredients:
1 cup (or 2 sticks or 16 tbsp. or 8 oz.) unsalted butter, browned
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea sat + more for sprinkling
3/4 cup broken pretzels + more for top
1 and 1/2 cups caramel bits (I used Kraft caramel bits) + more for top
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for top

Preparation:
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
To brown the butter: In a (preferably light colored) saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, whisking as it melts, foams, bubbles, and eventually little brown bits form and it turns amber. Immediately pour into a large, heatproof, bowl, and use a spatula to scrape all the little brown bits into the bowl.
Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the vanilla and sugars into the butter for a couple minutes, until it lightens a bit.
Beat in eggs for about 30 seconds.
Add the baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and about a third of the flour. Mix slowly, add another third of flour, mix, and add the last of the flour until just combined.
Stir in the pretzels, caramel bits, and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Scoop out very large balls of dough (at least 1/4 cup, but could be bigger, up to 1/2 cup size) and place on prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of space in between (will need to do multiple batches.) Add more broken pretzel pieces, caramel bits, and chocolate chips to the tops of the dough balls to preference. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake 13 minutes (this will vary, though, according to the size of your cookies), until golden around the edges. Remove and allow to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Then, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve warm! Store leftover cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They will also keep, frozen, in a ziptop freezer bag for up to 3 months.

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