Welcome back to Angie’s kitchen – our last visit was back in May, but in between visits grandma’s cookbook is always waiting to take us on a new adventure! For those of you who are new to our blog, welcome! If you’d like to learn more about what our Angie’s kitchen posts are all about, please click here.
It was my turn to select a recipe to try and it didn’t take me long to choose the butterscotch cookies. Since we started this adventure, the recipe always seemed to catch my eye. I shared my choice with Karen and then got to work. Round one was under way with our usual rule in place – no discussing how to interpret the recipe!
After a quick read, like so many other recipes in the book, it seemed like this would be a simple one to pull off. Those of you that are familiar with Angie’s kitchen know that that is seldom the case and it wasn’t long before I was presented with a mystery. Things started out ok… Beat together eggs, light brown sugar and melted butter. Nothing strange there.
Next, add 3 1/2 cups of soft wheat flour – I’ve seen that term in other recipes in her book as well. Is that sifted wheat flour? White flour? Something else? Remember that this book was handwritten by my grandma when she was a teenager in the 1920’s and some of the terms included are not ones we commonly use today. Google has been very helpful in unraveling the old terminology and a quick search let me know that soft wheat flour is generally known as cake flour or pastry flour today.
With the mystery solved, I moved on and immediately ran into a second one. After I added my “soft wheat flour,” I was instructed to add 2 tablespoons baking. Baking? Baking what?? Powder? Soda? You seem to have left out a word grandma! Clearly this was something that Google could not resolve and since my grandma is no longer around at 109 years old to ask, the mystery needed to be resolved with a leap of faith.
I have seen cookies made with baking powder and cookies made with baking soda, but most that I have made seem to use powder. For that reason, and that reason alone, I decided to go with baking powder. So how did they turn out?
The slice and bake method produced a series of uniformly shaped cookies. My wife said the flavor kind of reminded her of the slice and bake sugar cookies you can buy in the store. I could definitely taste hints of that as well. They also reminded me of a softer, but still somewhat crunchy, version of biscotti.
They were similar in texture to some of the other “old world” style cookies I remember my grandma making and that made me feel like I had made the right choice with the baking powder. If I close my eyes, I can picture her and her sister breaking them out after dinner and dunking them in their coffee as they liked to do.
That leaves one question left to answer – did they taste like butterscotch? For my family and me, the answer was no. I wondered for a moment how they got their name and then I stopped and looked up the ingredients in butterscotch. The primary ingredients are butter and brown sugar which happen to be two of the primary ingredients in this cookie recipe – I guess I got my answer!
Despite the cookies not tasting like butterscotch, I found them to be quite good and even something that I would make again in the future. On that note, I’ll turn it over to Karen to see how her experience went.
Both Tom and myself were very pleased with Ray’s selection of Butterscotch Cookies for this round. As I am sure I’ve already mentioned, Tom is not into sweets, but there are a few things he makes exceptions for, and one of them is butterscotch.
I would agree with Ray that this recipe did give a bit more information than the others, but a quick glance did present the question of baking powder vs. baking soda and like Ray, I went baking powder. I also questioned the amount. I know from watching countless episodes of The Great British Baking Show that too much baking powder can result in a bitter taste, but in the spirit of round one, I decided to stick to the instructions given by Grandma Angie.
So, that brings me to the point where I was gathering the other ingredients and read “soft wheat flour”, which is where I believe Ray committed a rules infraction. You see, we are supposed to make the Angie’s Kitchen recipes round one based purely on what is written on the page and what knowledge we already possess. No research (Googling) until round 2. Since it has been a few months, I’ll let this one slide with a simple reminder. I knew enough from my bread baking that there is “hard wheat” and “soft wheat” and that the hard wheat is higher in protein which is better for bread making and soft wheat is lower in protein which seemed more logical for a cookie. So, I thought about my current flour collection and what I had on hand that I thought would best represent a “soft wheat flour”. I know what you are thinking. “She has a flour collection?” Yes, I do. Don’t judge. Anyway, the flour that came to mind is one I purchased from Janie’s Mill called Frederick. I’ve used it in the past to make some beautifully soft dinner rolls. I pulled it out of the pantry and noted the label had a picture of a cookie on it so I decided it was meant to be.
The instructions for this recipe were straight forward and easy to follow, but at a glance, it is easy to see that this is quite a large recipe, so I only made a half recipe. Grandma’s parents owned a boarding house, so as written the recipe would feed an army. I liked the technique of rolling the dough into a log and slicing, and it did remind me of the tubes of cookie dough from the grocery store. I baked 2/3rds of the log and decided to freeze the rest. That amount made 24 cookies which are quickly dwindling even though only 2 people have been eating them.
So, how did we think they tasted? Both Tom and myself really liked them. They are not as sweet as a lot of cookies, but in my opinion that works in their favor. Using the Frederick flour which I now see Janie’s lists as cake flour was an excellent choice and I would not change that. Texturally, they are quite crunchy on day two so I get Ray’s comments on biscotti, which might be a really nice direction in which to take this recipe. As for the butterscotch flavor? Both Tom and I get a hint of butterscotch especially from the cookies that had the brownest bottoms, but we already have some ideas on how to try to bring that flavor forward for round 2.
See you next week for round 2!
Dear friends, please forgive my Google indiscretion. The next time I find myself wondering what the rules are, I promise to stop and ask myself WWKD – What would Karen do?