Butterscotchies With Salty Pecans

It seems that lately I have fallen into doing a series of brownie like dessert recipe creations. I never planned for it to happen, it just sort of evolved on its own. The first brownie recipe was one that we did for one of our from Angie’s kitchen posts back in January.  While that one was planned, I didn’t expect to follow up with a version made from coconut flour the next month. Since then, brownie like desserts have been on my brain! I’ve had a few different ideas, including the one I’m doing today with butterscotch.

As I mulled the idea over for the recipe, I thought the name “Butterscotchies” would be the perfect thing to call them! Somewhere during my first test run I thought about the name again, and that’s when a Mark Twain quote came to mind: “There is no such thing as a new idea. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.” With that quote in mind, I was temporarily sidetracked from my creation as I had to stop and look up if someone else had ever used the name Butterscotchies.

Sure enough, there were several recipes using that name, or some sort of variation of it. Most of them appeared to be cookies, quite often some form of an oatmeal cookie. One recipe was called “Butterscotch Scotchies” which looked more like my brownie kind of idea, but they were actually a bar cookie. Either way, I still liked the name and decided to go with it. So, I proceeded to pour my ingredient choices into that mental kaleidoscope that Twain talked about.

With the batter all mixed up and still in the oven baking, I immediately thought to myself “these are going to be too sweet!” As a starting point, I had followed the brownie recipe that I had created for my round two of Angie’s kitchen. The amount of sugar in that recipe worked fine with the 72% dark chocolate chips that I had used, but knowing that butterscotch chips are much sweeter, I should have reduced the amount of sugar right from the start.

In the end, my too late thinking was correct! There was definite potential there, but the sweetness had to be reduced. I further went on to think that despite lowering the amount of sugar, they would still be fairly sweet because of the butterscotch and that’s when the idea to add salty pecans to the mix came to mind.  My hope was that having little salty bits mixed into the sweetness would balance it out nicely. 

So now not only did I need to refine the original recipe, I also had to come up with a way to create salty pecans to add to it!  In the end, I tossed the pecans in a bit of melted butter, brown sugar and salt and toasted them in the oven before adding them to the butterscotchie batter.  While it seems counter intuitive to add brown sugar to something you are trying to make salty, the main purpose for it was to caramelize with the butter so the flavor would stick to the pecans and not get lost in the batter.  With the right amount of salt, only the salty flavor came through. 

Notice how I said “the right amount” in the last sentence?  On my first attempt, I didn’t get it right – I way overstated it.  I wanted a pleasant burst of saltiness to come through, but for my first round I ended up with something that tasted like the ocean!  I love the beach and swimming in the ocean, but it’s always unpleasant when a big wave deposits a huge gulp of salty water into your mouth, and it sure wasn’t the flavor I was going for! 

For me though, that’s part of the fun of creating new recipes.  Sometimes we hit the nail right on the head, but often we don’t.  Not every new creation is going to be instant perfection, and that’s okay because those moments give us the opportunity to learn and grow.

Butterscotchies With Salty Pecans

For the salty pecans:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar – packed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter slowly in the microwave – I like to use the defrost cycle to do this. Once melted, mix in the brown sugar and salt until dissolved. Microwave the mixture in 20 to 30 second increments – again on defrost – until it just begins to get bubbly. Add the pecans and mix well until they are evenly coated.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, tossing them every 5 minutes. When done, they should be golden brown and a bit sticky. Allow them to cool and dry – about 30 minutes – before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.

Salty Pecans

For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter – softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces butterscotch chips – melted
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup prepared salty pecans

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla with a mixer on slow speed until they are well blended and then continue on medium speed until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix on slow speed until mixed in, about 1 minute. Add the melted butterscotch chips and blend in with a mixer on slow speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, then mix in the flour by hand until just combined, followed by the salty pecans.

Pour the mixture into a greased 7 inch square pan and bake in a preheated oven set to 325 degrees for 25 to 28 minutes. Allow to cool for about an hour and then cut into 16 squares and serve.

My second attempt worked out well once I corrected the issues with them being overly sweet and the pecans being too salty. The butterscotch flavor came through nicely without being overpowering and the little bursts of saltiness in each bite balanced out the sweetness nicely, as I hoped it would.

The texture was soft, moist and a bit on the chewy side – my son said the texture was similar to the cake pops you’d get at Starbucks. I thought it was a pretty astute comparison for a seven year old (no bias there of course just because I’m his father…) and he was really spot on.

I do have one more idea in mind for my unplanned brownie like dessert series – although I guess now I can no longer call it unplanned! I’m still working on the idea, but maybe I’ll be ready to write that final chapter in the series in May. Until next time, have a great weekend!

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