A Prize-Winning Peanut Butter Pretzel Treat

Three years ago I entered a chocolate chip cookie contest sponsored by the National Capital Area YWCA to commemorate the organization's 100th birthday. Apparently, back in the day, the YWCA had an on-site bakery and sold thousands of chocolate chip cookies a day. To honor this tradition, the YWCA invited women to submit original chocolate chip cookie recipes; the winning cookie recipe would be produced on a large scale and sold to the public to raise funds for the YWCA. You can read an article about the bakeoff here.

My recipe was selected as one of the top ten entries and I was invited to compete in a bakeoff held at Stratford University. At the bakeoff, I was pleasantly surprised when I met another contestant named Sarah Croake who happened to be a paralegal at the same federal agency where I work. When I tasted her cookie, I was smitten. It was a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that also included broken pretzel pieces. The salty-nutty-sweet combination was immensely satisfying. The peanut butter-chocolate-pretzel theme has been popularized in Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby (fudge-covered, peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets in a vanilla malt ice cream base with peanut butter and fudge swirls) and the Hershey Take 5 bar (milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts, peanut butter, and pretzels), but I had never seen it in a cookie before.

Sarah's Peanut Butter and Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie took third place in the bakeoff, and she was kind enough to share the recipe with me afterwards. Whenever I make this cookie, it's always a bit comical to try and mix in all of the chocolate chips and pretzel bits at the end, because there is barely enough peanut butter batter to hold everything together. But the result is always beautiful and delicious.

As for my bakeoff recipe, the Cherry Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie, it didn't place. But I really can't complain. I am happy to give credit where credit is due, and my cookie can't hold a candle to this salty-sweet treat.