Filled with chocolate, caramel, and crushed pretzels, these Kitchen Sink Cookies are a Panera Bread copycat and the perfect blend of salty and sweet. One of these jumbo cookies is plenty to share, but you probably won’t want to!
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One of my favorite places to get lunch on-the-go is Panera Bread. I usually get a Greek salad…and follow it with one of their massive Kitchen Sink Cookies.
For years I’ve been meaning to make a copycat version of that cookie for my arsenal and I finally did it. And guys? It’s good. REALLY good.
It’s the perfect blend of salt, caramel, and chocolaty goodness.
WHY ARE THEY CALLED KITCHEN SINK COOKIES?
Because they have “everything but the kitchen sink in them”! Panera’s version has milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, caramel pieces, pretzels, and topped with salt.
You can really grab anything from the pantry to balance salty & sweet. I like to sub out the caramel for Heath pieces sometimes. And I use chopped dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate chips.
Below is an overview of the key ingredients, some helpful tips, and possible substitutions. Scroll down for the full recipe card with instructions.
BUTTER – I use salted butter because I prefer a sharp salt to sweet contrast. You can use unsalted.
SUGAR – Light brown sugar to make the cookies nice and chewy with a deep caramel flavor.
EGGS – You’ll use one whole egg and one egg yolk. The additional egg yolk also adds to the chewiness of these cookies.
VANILLA EXTRACT – Vanilla extract enhances the flavor of the cookies. Try to use real vanilla extract instead of imitation. I know it is pricey but I buy it in bulk at Sam’s or Costco or you can make your own.
BAKING SODA – Baking soda adds rise to the cookies.
FLOUR – I’ve only tested this recipe with all-purpose white flour.
DARK CHOCOLATE – You can use a chocolate chip, but I recommend chopping your own chocolate. It distributes the flavor much better throughout the cookie. I buy a Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Bar, which is scored into 1 oz squares that make it easy to portion.
CARAMELS – I used Werther’s Caramels and chopped them up into small bits. It is honestly the most time consuming part of this recipe. You can also use Caramel Bits but I don’t find them to melt as well. Alternatively, you can skip the caramel and add toffee bits (Heath) for another great flavor. I actually prefer that option, but Panera uses caramel in their cookie.
PRETZELS – I crushed up Pretzel Snaps. If you like more texture in your cookie, just break the pretzels into pieces (putting them into a ziplock baggie and crushing with a rolling pin would work well). I like a finer crumb so I chopped mine in my veggie chopper. I use that thing for everything!
SEA SALT – A light sprinkle of sea salt on the top of the cookies is a great balance of salt to sweet. A little bit goes a long way.
TOOLS FOUND ON AMAZON TO HELP YOU
- Baking Sheets – I like a baking sheet with a lip on it so the dough balls don’t roll off.
- Silicone Mats – Because we’re dealing with sticky caramel and melty chocolate, you’ll want an easy cleanup. Silicone mats or parchment paper help cookies to bake evenly and protects your baking sheets.
- Cookie Scoop – This is a medium cookie scoop (1.5 Tb). You’ll use one scoop for “regular” sized cookies or two scoops for jumbo cookies.
- Veggie Chopper – This thing isn’t just for veggies! I used it to easily crush the pretzels for these cookies.
HOW TO MAKE KITCHEN SINK COOKIES
This copycat Panera Everything But the Kitchen Sink cookies recipe is really easy. You don’t need to wait for butter to soften, you don’t need to chill the dough, and you don’t even need to get out the mixer.
STEP ONE: In a medium microwave safe bowl, add the cubed butter and brown sugar. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until fully combined. Let stand for about 5 minutes to cool down.
STEP TWO: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
STEP THREE: Once the butter mixture has slightly cooled, stir in one egg, one egg yolk, and the vanilla until fully combined. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until fully combined.
STEP FOUR: Add in the chopped chocolate, chopped caramels, and crushed pretzels and stir until evenly distributed.
STEP FIVE: To make jumbo cookies, scoop approximately 3 Tablespoons of dough into a ball and place on silicone or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Four will fit per sheet. Sprinkle with flake salt and bake for 9 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are set. Remove from oven and let fully cool on the pan.
To make regular size cookies, scoop approximately 1.5 Tablespoons of dough into a ball and place on a silicone or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Twelve will fit per sheet. Sprinkle with flake salt and bake for 8 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are set. Remove from oven and let fully cool on the pan.
HOW MANY CALORIES IN A PANERA KITCHEN SINK COOKIE?
According to Panera’s nutrition info, their Kitchen Sink cookie has 800 calories in it. That is….a lot. They are huge and intended for sharing, but according to my calculator, my jumbo version, as written below, comes in at 481 calories.
HOW TO STORE THEM
Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
CAN YOU FREEZE THEM
Yes, this dough freezes beautifully.
To freeze dough, prepare as directed, and place on a baking sheet. Wrap baking sheet with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until frozen through (I usually let them freeze overnight). Once fully frozen, move the dough balls to freezer bags. They will keep well for up to 3 months frozen. To bake from frozen, add an additional minute to bake time.
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Kitchen Sink Cookies (Panera Copycat)
- ¾ cup butter cubed
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 oz dark chocolate chopped (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup Werther's original caramels chopped into small pieces
- ¾ cup crushed pretzels
- sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium microwave safe bowl, add the cubed butter and brown sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then repeat until fully combined. Let sit for approximately 5 minutes to cool.
- While cooling, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Once the butter mixture has slightly cooled, stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to fully combine.
- Pour in the chopped chocolate, chopped caramels, and crushed pretzels ad stir to evenly distribute.
- To make jumbo cookies, scoop 3 Tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball, place on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt – 4 cookies per baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes or until edges are browned and centers are set. Remove from oven and let fully cool on the pan.
- To make regular sized cookies, use a medium (1.5 Tb) cookie scoop, roll into a ball, place on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt – 12 cookies per baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges are browned and centers are set. Remove from oven and let fully cool on the pan.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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