Bourbon lovers, rejoice! There’s a new recipe on deck today, just in time for the Kentucky Derby. For those of you who may be thinking- “I don’t think I like bourbon! I don’t watch the derby!” – take a breather. The good news is that you don’t have to love whiskey or horses to love these sweet and salty bourbon toffee chocolate chunk cookies- they’re that good. Hear me out for a moment while I tell you about them and then you can decide for yourself.
Bourbon in Cookies?
A Kentucky girl at heart, I will forever try to lace as many of my treats with the liquid I adore. I, for one, LOVE bourbon. The taste of caramel undertones, the faint scent of vanilla and honey, even the warmth in my chest after each taste- I adore it all. But in baked goods, the flavor is more subtle. Bourbon in baked goods is like background vocals in a really good song; you may never even notice it until you start looking for it, only then realizing how much those notes contributed in the first place. Adding bourbon to treats like these cookies gives a subtle cozy flavor that is hard to put your finger on, but I can promise it makes all the difference.
Why Pretzels and Toffee?
If you don’t know already, sweet and salty is my jam. It’s the primary reason I add salt to my graham cracker crust and balance sweet pies (like this brown butter chess pie!) with a finish of flaked salt. Even my favorite cookies, salted chocolate chip cookies, have an extra shake of salt in them. Salty cuts the sweetness and pronounces other flavors in the cookies so your palate isn’t overwhelmed with just sugar. I mean, we love sugar, alright? But balance, y’all, balance. The toffee chunks here add a richer sweetness while the pretzels lend texture and salt. All in all, these are well-rounded cookies.
Bourbon Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Making these cookies is pretty straight forward. We start with unsalted butter, brown sugar, and sugar. I use a higher ratio of brown sugar to sugar, both for flavor and textural purposes. Brown sugar lends a more flavorful sweetness as well as chew. Next, we stir in eggs, vanilla extract, and bourbon. I use good quality bourbon, but certainly not top shelf. I’ll let you make that call. Finally, we toss in the flour, leavening, and loads of mix-ins. Here, I used roughly chopped pretzels, chocolate chunks, and toffee bits. I prefer the toffee bits without chocolate, but that’s 100% up to you. Toss them all in and scoop large rounds of dough on prepared pans. The cookies bake about 10 minutes until the edges are set and the insides still look gooey- that’s how you know they’re good!
More Bourbon Bakes for the Derby
If you fall into the camp of people who are eagerly awaiting the big hats and mint juleps in the best couple of minutes in sports, I have loads of other bourbon desserts for you to try. Check out my favorites below and let me know what you think! Happy Monday and Happy Baking, y’all!Print
Bourbon Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies
These Bourbon Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies are loaded with pretzels, sweet and salty flavor, and are perfect for bourbon lovers!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 24
- Category: Dessert
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1–1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2–3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup mini pretzel twists, slightly crushed, plus more for cookie tops if desired
- ¾ cup toffee bits
- 3 tablespoons flaked sea salt, if desired
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and fluffed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, bourbon, and vanilla extract and stir on medium until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring on low until combined. Add the chocolate, pretzel pieces, and toffee. Stir allow the dough to rest. I like to go ahead and scoop out large cookie scoops (3 tablespoon sized) balls of dough and refrigerate them covered for about 45 minutes. If you’d prefer, cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough in one bowl for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and space out the 3 tablespoon-sized mound of dough at least 2” apart on a sheet pan. You will bake these in batches. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the edges are barely set and the insides still looks slightly underdone. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with the flaked salt, if desired. Enjoy once cooled slightly.