Pretzel cookies

Photo: Lynn Andriani

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The Nutty, Salty Crunch
Chopped nuts are perennial favorites in both brownies and chocolate chip cookies. While walnuts are traditional, hazelnuts (which, combined with chocolate, impart a Nutellaesque flavor) and almonds (think rocky road ice cream) deserve to be in the rotation too. Honey-roasted nuts and salted corn nuts are excellent in cookies (though they don't work quite as well in brownies). Rice Krispies add crunch to either dessert, and mini pretzels, potato chips and even Cool Ranch Doritos do that plus deliver a salty kick. Other ideas: wasabi peas, cheese puffs or Fritos. The basic rule of thumb with this type of mix-in is to incorporate 1 to 1 1/2 cups per batch.