From Angie’s Kitchen – Butterscotch Cookies Revisted

After last week’s cookie round, I felt like there was lots of opportunity to turn this recipe which we already liked into something truly wonderful. As I sat taste testing and discussing the pros and cons of the cookie with Tom, a whirlwind of ideas quickly took shape.

The flour I’d used was a winner that needed to remain in the recipe. It was Janie’s Mill Frederick, which is a stoned milled soft white wheat. Besides a nice flavor, there was a texture it gave that we both agreed we really enjoyed.

There was a hint of butterscotch flavor that we both tasted in the cookie, but that we felt needed to come forward. Tom suggested a better butter would help so instead of an unsalted rather anemic and generic butter, he thought a better quality Kerrygold with salt would act to enhance the butterscotch flavor. I couldn’t argue with that. I felt he was right on the money. Next, he suggested that instead of light brown sugar, I should use half light brown and half dark brown sugar. This sounded plausible, so I googled it. Many cooks prefer using dark brown sugar to get more of a butterscotch flavor into their sauces, custards and such so that sounded like a good idea to me. I thought about switching entirely to dark brown sugar, but knowing I was already going to make several changes to the original recipe, I felt like the half measure was a good idea, because if I made too many drastic changes, I’d never figure out the impact each change made.

I always knew I’d up the amount of vanilla in the recipe. That was a given.

Next came the question of add-ins. I had already thought about butterscotch chips, but also knew that the brand of chip I wanted wasn’t going to show up on my doorstep in time for this week’s post, so I needed to think about it a bit longer. Tom was pretty eager to opine about the nuts. He didn’t dislike the walnuts we’d used in the first round, but wasn’t shy to put forth macadamia as his candidate and why not white chocolate chips for that matter? I was open to the idea of macadamia, but not the white chocolate chips. There was something else I’d seen and after straining my brain for a little while I remembered having watched a YouTube episode of Cupcake Jemma about making caramelized white chocolate. It was my eureka moment. It wouldn’t be butterscotch “on the nose”, but it would enhance the flavor of the cookie overall (at least it would in my mind). So, I set about looking for a good quality white chocolate to make the caramelized white chocolate and came across Dulcey by Valrhona. With the Dulcey chocolate, Valrhona had already done the process of caramelizing the white chocolate for me. I’d been curious to try Valrhona for a while, so I put together an order large enough to get free and fast shipping and began to get a little too excited over the prospect of special chocolate arriving quickly. Once I received the shipment of chocolate and taste tested it, I knew I was onto something. I had also added some white chocolate to the order and while taste testing noticed that the two together tasted even better.

Lastly there was the question of baking soda vs. baking powder and the amount. I felt certain that the original tablespoon of baking powder in round one was the reason for the brittleness of the cookie, but even after doing some research felt unsure about which way to go. I finally decided to stick with baking powder because of the overnight rest in the refrigerator. My instincts told me to use 1 teaspoon, but I hesitated and used 1.5 teaspoons instead.

Karen’s Butterscotch Cookies 2.0

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 TBSP Kerrygold butter melted and cooled
  • 1 3/4 cups Janie’s Mill Frederick flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup Valrhona Dulcey feves cut in half (or other caramelized white chocolate discs)
  • 1/4 cup Valrhona white chocolate feves cut in half

Beat egg until light in color. Add brown sugar, vanilla, melted butter and beat well. Sift flour and whisk with salt and baking powder. Mix flour blend into first mixture one half at a time. Mix in nuts and chocolate. Shape dough into a 24 cm long log and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Slice log into 1 cm rounds, place on parchment or silicon lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.

Notes: This cookie is really delicious. The butterscotch flavor was much more evident. The choice to use salted butter as well as salted roasted macadamia nuts really counterbalances the sweetness beautifully. The choice of chocolate really was a splurge, but it was also an investment worth making as it added a real decadence to the cookie. I baked the cookies in two batches. The first batch was perfect and although the second batch was baked for the same amount of time, that dough had been out of the refrigerator for about 5 minutes longer and the cookies came out slightly overdone, but still delicious. The next time I bake this cookie, I will probably just put the whole stick of butter in the dough instead of 6 TBSP and I will use 1 tsp of baking soda instead of the baking powder as I think it will improve the texture of the cookie which is acceptable as is, but is something I would like to describe as exceptional in the future.

This was my most successful Angie’s Kitchen part 1 and part 2. Let’s see how Ray fared on round 2.

I also enjoyed the original version of this cookie which I will again say was more like a nice biscotti to be enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Despite enjoying it, I was a little disappointed by the lack of butterscotch flavor that the title promised.

As I said at the end of the last round, the name “butterscotch cookies” did make sense to me when I looked up the ingredients in butterscotch and found that they were very similar to the ones in the cookie recipe. It’s also understandable that a recipe from the 1920s, a time when all of the amazing ingredients we have today were not available, might not taste like butterscotch as we know it today. Nevertheless, for round two I really wanted to turn this recipe into one that gave me a real burst of butterscotch flavor.

Karen and I didn’t talk much in between rounds this time, but it appears that we both traveled down many of the same roads before making our final recipe choices. We both considered the idea of a blend of light and dark brown sugar and the idea of using butterscotch chips. We both considered increasing the butter from 6 to 8 tablespoons and we both also revisited the baking soda vs. baking power debate.

Interestingly enough, with all of the similar contemplation, we both ended up going in total opposite directions! I decided I would shift from slice and bake to drop cookies and I wanted a slightly softer dough for that purpose, so where Karen decided to stay with the 6 tablespoons of butter, I went with 8. She moved away from the butterscotch chips in favor of the blended brown sugar idea and I left that idea behind in favor of the chips.

I also wanted my end result to be a softer and chewier cookie instead of a crunchier one like the original recipe produced. I felt that the increase in butter would help that along and once again, I decided to go down the opposite road as Karen and I switched to baking soda. Baking soda gives that nice chewy quality to chocolate chip cookies and I hoped it would work the same way for mine.

My other changes included reducing the amount of brown sugar by 1/4 of a cup to help compensate for the extra sweetness that the butterscotch chips would provide and switching from walnuts to cashews. I thought the bit of salt in the cashews would help balance the sweetness of the chips even further as well as giving this cookie an updated and more modern elevated feel.

Ray’s Round 2 Butterscotch Cookies

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter – softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped salted cashews

In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking soda and salt together and then mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, one half at a time, until well combined and the dough forms.

Mix in the butterscotch chips and cashews by hand until well combined and chill the dough for at least an hour before baking. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons (or use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop) onto a greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes approximately 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

In the end, the changes I made worked really well for this cookie. It had the softer texture I was looking for, the butterscotch chips gave me the flavor I was hoping to experience from the moment I first saw the title of the original recipe and the bit of saltiness and richness that the cashews added created a very nice contrast to the sweetness of the cookie.

I have to echo Karen’s thoughts and agree that this was also my most successful journey into Angie’s kitchen to date. Not only did I walk away with one recipe I would enjoying making again, I’m walking away with two which is indeed a rare outcome!

I’d like to end this post by saying I’m off to enjoy another cookie right now, but unless I make another batch that isn’t possible – the cookies in the picture above are long gone! Until next week, I hope you all have a great weekend!

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