Justin makes Chocolate Pretzel Crinkle Cookies on this week’s episode of Mad Genius.
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Thumbprint cookies. Kourampiedes. Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Cookies. Holiday season means an abundance of cookies, and this week's Mad Genius episode gets in the spirit with Chocolate Pretzel Crinkle Cookies. They have a deep, chocolaty flavor and come together in just three steps. And if you weren't already sold, they're also gluten-free, thanks to ground-up gluten-free pretzels that replace the typical flour. As a bonus, you can even freeze any leftovers you have for up to three months and extend that festive feeling just a little bit longer.

Want to make a batch? Read on for Justin's step-by-step method and follow along with the video above.

Blitz the Pretzels

First, make what's essentially your "flour" with ground-up gluten-free pretzels. Add them to a food processor and process until they're very finely ground, which should take about one minute and 30 seconds.

Prep Your Dry and Wet Ingredients 

Next, add the ground pretzels to a medium bowl along with the unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder and baking powder, using a whisk to combine the ingredients together. As Justin points out, the recipe doesn't call for salt because the pretzels are salty as-is.

For the wet ingredients, grab a large bowl and an electric hand mixer (or a stand mixer, if you'd prefer). Add granulated sugar, vegetable or canola oil to help keep the cookies moist, large eggs, and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat on high speed until everything is combined. At this point, add in the dry ingredient mixture and use a spatula or spoon to stir it in instead of a whisk or mixer. This helps minimize additional air being incorporated into the dough. 

Form and Chill the Dough

Once everything is combined, the dough should resemble brownie batter. Cover it with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for about two hours, until it's firm and ready to scoop.

Scoop, Roll, and Bake

Shape the cookie dough into one-inch balls (you should end up with 60) and roll them in confectioners' sugar so they're evenly coated. This not only gives the cookies a festive, snowy appearance, but also helps to balance the saltiness of the pretzels. 

Place the cookie balls on parchment paper-lined baking sheets two inches apart so they have room to spread out while they bake. Then, bake them in batches in a 350°F oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until the tops look cracked. Justin recommends rotating the baking sheets halfway through the cooking time.

Chocolate Pretzel Crinkle Cookies
Credit: Greg DuPree

Enjoy

Once the cookies are out of the oven, let them cool in two stages—first on the baking sheets for two minutes, and then on wire racks for another 15 to 20 minutes until they cool completely. (Allow the baking sheets to cool completely if you plan on using them to bake another batch.) Once the cookies have cooled, they're ready to eat.

"It's nice and crunchy on the outside, but it's nice and chewy, but tender on the inside," Justin says after trying one. "And it has this intense, amazing chocolaty flavor. The best part is that incredible flavor we got from those pretzels, and it just happens to be gluten-free. I mean, you wouldn't even know. We have officially pretzelfied a crinkle cookie."

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Pretzel Crinkle Cookies