Monday, February 27, 2012

Salted Butter Kitchen Sink Cookies

I'm trying to create less waste. In cooking and in life. I'm trying to print off less papers from my computer, copy fewer unnecessary handouts for my students and reuse the sleeves on my coffee cups.

I'm trying to use my suitcase full of reusable bags instead of getting new plastic bags from the store.

And I'm trying to use up all the little extra bits of food I have lying around instead of throwing them away.  It's why I had vegetable fried rice for dinner last Friday (I used all the leftover rice from my Indian takeout dinner!). It's why I had barley risotto with sauteed cabbage instead of escarole.

And it's why I was desperate to do something with the three sweet treats I rarely buy: the Oreos I used to make this chocolate peanut butter torte, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups I used to make these double chocolate oatmeal peanut butter cup cookies, and the M&Ms that filled these Valentine's Day blondies.

The situation felt particularly urgent because not only were these leftovers that needed to be used up, they were also particularly tasty snacks that called to me every time I entered the kitchen.

David Lebowitz's recipe for salted butter cookies called to me because I thought the extra touch of salt would be particularly nice with the overwhelming sweetness of all the mix-ins.

This is the perfect recipe for using up all those extra bits you have laying around. I can imagine coconut, any kind of nut, any kind of chocolate, and any kind of cookie working particularly well. A few recipes I peeked at really included everything--even Fritos and potato chips. If you get that creative, I'd love to hear about it.

Salted Butter Kitchen Sink Cookies
recipe adapted from David Lebowitz

David Lebowitz recommends removing these cookies from the oven a few minutes before they are finished and hitting them gently with a spatula. Needless to say I was skeptical and not super delighted by the extra step. However, for the minute it took to flatten the cookies, I was left with cookies that were uniform in height and quite delicious. I think it's worth it, but I'm sure you could skip it with equally tasty results.

8 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups of your favorite mix-ins: I used 1 cup M&Ms, 1/3 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and 2/3 cups crushed Oreos. I chopped the Reeses' into sixths.

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the butter/egg mixture until just combined. Add the mix-ins.

Cover and chill the batter until firm, at least a few hours and preferably overnight.

Bake the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop even rounds of cookie dough onto the baking sheets, and press the tops down slightly so they are flattened. Tablespoon-sized balls worked well for me.

Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets midway through if you're baking two sheets at once.

Remove the cookies from the oven and quickly tap each cookie with a spatula. Return the cookies to the oven, and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the tops of the cookies are browned.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies freeze well.


  1. I'm thinking about the little containers full of odds and ends that currently occupy my baking cupboard: chocolate covered espresso beans, a handful of Andes chocolate mint baking pieces, and a partial bar of white chocolate. That doesn't sound half bad. I never would have thought of putting them together!

    1. That combination definitely sounds interesting! I'm trying to picture espresso and mint together, but it could be good.

  2. that's such a wonderful idea, it always pains me to throw food away and it's very inspiring to see what creative things can be made out of it!

  3. Kitchen sink cookies are, in my opinion, one of the best kind. I love the sweet and salty thing you've got going on here!

  4. I love the less waste life view!