Put Everything but the Kitchen Sink in Your Cookies

December 14, 2015

Kohler's Reset accessories inspired us to raid the pantry and make cookies out of anything and everything, from a few extra cranberries to the end of the bag of marshmallows.

Raise your hand if you've ever bought pretzels or potato chips, eaten most of the bag, stashed it away, and then promptly forgotten its existence until after purchasing more of said snack food. Maybe you hoard nuts. Or perhaps you have a few candy bars still leftover from Halloween. Kitchen sink cookies are for you, you, and you.

Photo by James Ransom

Sure, you could throw a handful of this and that from your pantry dregs, but a great kitchen sink cookie takes a little more thought. It's about a balance of flavors and textures: You want something sweet, crunchy, salty, and chewy. Choose an add-in or two from each of these categories and you've got one tough-to-beat cookie. And if you're feeling crazy (aren't you?) a wildcard ingredient or two—like rose water, bacon, or instant coffee—doesn't hurt things either.

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Grab the butter, raid the pantry, and line your baking sheets, it's time to make kitchen sink cookies without a recipe.

Photo by James Ransom

The Mix-ins

Just keep repeating "sweet, crunchy, salty, chewy" and you can't go wrong when choosing your add-ins. Here are three examples that both surprise and hit all of the four notes, whether it's the combination of s'mores-meets-potato chips, the earthiness of cumin seeds, or the slightly bitter, almond tinge of amaretto.

Photo by James Ransom
  • Chocolate chips, Golden Grahams, potato chips, mini marshmallows, cinnamon
  • Rose water, toasted cumin seeds, white chocolate, toasted and chopped cashews, coconut, dried cherries or cranberries
  • Amaretto, toasted and chopped almonds, instant espresso, dried cherries, crushed amaretto cookies

A note on amounts: You'll want to use about 1 cup for chocolatey things, 1 to 2 cups crunchy stuff like cereal and potato chips, 1 cup for nuts and dried fruit, 1 to 2 teaspoons for spices, 2 to 3 tablespoons for alcohol, and about 1 cup for most other things, like mini marshmallows and amaretto cookies.

And while kitchen sink cookies will take your odds and ends, remember not all pantry items cookie equally. Here are some of our other favorite add-ins:

  • Granola: If crunch is what you're after, this is the answer.
  • Caramel candies: Pockets of caramel are just as exciting as chocolate, if you ask us.
  • Miso: Umami is always better.
  • Pretzels: Salty and crunchy make pretzels a two-for-one. Mini pretzels or pretzel rods are the perfect mix-in size.
  • Chopped-up candy bars: More texture than ol' chocolate chips—and with no extra effort.
  • Ground tea leaves: Whether it's chai, earl gray, or earthy green tea, these add a delicate floral flavor.
  • Cooked, cooled quinoa: Subtly nutty, with a wholesome bite, adding quinoa makes cookies breakfast appropriate, right?
  • Chow Mein Noodles: Not just for stir-fries and salad bars, crunchy Chow Mein Noodles are the savory ingredient that wants to be sweet.
Photo by James Ransom

The Dough

As for the dough, you want a hearty base that welcomes plenty of add-ins with open arms (crumbly dough would fall apart). Whether you want your cookie chewier, chock full of oats, or chocolatey, here are some kitchen sink-ready bases:

Now: Ready, set, cookie!

We've paired up with Kohler to share ideas for what to have on hand to throw dinner parties—and how to wipe up after them—during the holiday season. Follow along with our inspiration here.

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