Photo courtesy of Jason Varney

We knew we liked Hedy Goldsmith the moment she encouraged us to sneak a taste of cookie dough while making her “Junk in da Trunk” cookies. The recipe appears in the Miami pastry chef’s first cookbook, Baking Out Loud, a collection of 80 bold and whimsical desserts. These career-defining cookies rely on junk-food favorites like malted milk balls and kettle-cooked potato chips to deliver a range of sweet, salty and nostalgic flavors. Take a cue from Goldsmith and pop the chilled dough into the oven as soon as your dinner guests arrive. The scent of cookies baking will prime their appetite for dessert before the meal begins.

"Junk in da Trunk" Cookies

Recipe adapted from "Baking Out Loud" by Hedy Goldsmith (Clarkson Potter)

  • Makes 16 (2-inch) cookies
  • Start to Finish: 1 hour 45 minutes (includes chilling time)

Ingredients

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 extra-large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces

12 malted milk balls, halved (about ⅓ cup)

⅓ cup butterscotch chips

⅓ cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

⅓ cup lightly crushed kettle-cooked potato chips

⅓ cup coarsely chopped salted pretzel twists

Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

1. In a small bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt, then beat at medium-high speed, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until just combined, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined, about 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the side of the bowl.

4. Add the chocolate, malted milk balls, butterscotch chips, peanuts, potato chips and pretzels. Stir until just blended. (Don’t be concerned if it looks like there’s more “junk” than cookie dough in the bowl.)

5. Using a 3-tablespoon ice-cream scoop, shape the dough into balls and arrange them close together on a large plate or small baking sheet. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

6. Position the oven racks in the upper middle and lower middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Arrange the chilled dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the palm of your hand, flatten each dough ball slightly. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of the sea salt.

7. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, or until light golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool slightly before serving.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Goldsmith maintains that chilled dough bakes better, so if time allows, wrap and chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator.

  • The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to five days, but you should plan on reheating them before serving to make the chocolate soft and gooey.

  • To pull off cookies that taste just like Goldsmith’s, use Valrhona 70% bittersweet chocolate and Virginia salted peanuts.