Dark Brown Sugar, Meet Butterscotch – Butterscotch Brittles and a Winter Cookie Party, Part I

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Remember the butterscotch chip cookies I baked during the holidays in December?  The ones I photographed with cute snowmen in the background and the ones my mum went all cookie crazy over because she admitted she had a weakness for butterscotch?  Okay, so imagine those cookies, but crunchier in texture, richer in flavour and aroma, with more beautiful crackling, and just as delicious if not more!  It was cookie baking day in my house on Saturday and I was prepared to bake two kinds of cookies: another batch of butterscotch chip and a new lemon coconut almond cookie I was trying out.

I was so excited to bake cookies (like there’s ever a time when I’m not!) I literally went out during a snowstorm to buy extra butterscotch chips because another store I had visited earlier in the week had run out.  My mum thought I was crazy.  I call it determined.  And maybe a little stubborn.  But if the cookies we baked were any indication, walking around town with snowflakes hitting me in the eye was worth it.

I couldn’t believe how fabulous these cookies turned out!  You must be thinking though, “why were you surprised?  You baked these cookies before!”  That is true.  But there’s an important difference between these cookies and the ones I baked during Christmas: these ones have dark brown sugar in them, not light or golden.  The darker the sugar, the more molasses it has in it and you can clearly see and taste the difference.  I knew the amount of molasses in brown sugar would make a difference in baking, I just didn’t know how obvious the difference would be.

The ones I baked in December were chewier and lighter in colour while the ones I baked on Saturday turned out incredibly golden, like my cookies had been sunbathing on their parchment paper beach towels on the cookie sheet beach.  Not only was there a difference in appearance (check out the crackling!), but there was also a change in texture and taste.  These cookies were crunchier and the flavour was so incredibly rich!  It was like a cross between rich butterscotch fudge and brittle.  Hence, butterscotch brittles!

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The recipe for the butterscotch chip cookies can be found here.  For chewier, lighter cookies, follow the recipe as is.  For cookies like the ones I showed you all here, substitute the brown sugar with dark brown sugar.

Cracking My Mum’s Sweet Tooth Code – Holiday Baking and Soft, Rich Butterscotch Chip Cookies!

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The Christmas cookie baking fun isn’t over just yet – I have another great batch of cookies for you all today!  I really hope all of you liked the Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies I posted yesterday because I’ve certainly enjoyed eating them!  I’ve never done anything with peppermint or candy canes before so I thought it was the perfect way of doing something Christmasy and something new, and I’m really happy they turned out yummy – and pretty!  Using the same cookie batter base, I made another kind of Christmas cookie over the holidays: butterscotch chip cookies. 

I made these butterscotch cookies especially for my mum because, lo and behold, I finally cracked my mum’s sweet code this month!  Let me explain: out of everyone in my family, I have the sweetest teeth.  Everyone enjoys dessert, but not quite as much as I do.  And with my mum, it’s been difficult to pin down that one sweet something-something that really makes those taste buds prance and dance.  With my dad and brother, it’s easy.  They love chocolate, no questions asked.  And me?  My sweet teeth could live off of lemon, coconut, and vanilla.  But aside from coffee, there’s never been anything that has necessarily made my mum squeal.  Then I found out this past month that she adores butterscotch!  I felt kind of foolish for not knowing this.  After all, I have been her daughter for 26 years now.  But hey, I’ll take it!  She loves the aroma, and both her and my brother love the smooth creaminess of butterscotch sauce and the rich flavour of butterscotch chips.

Recipe for Butterscotch Chip Cookies (yields 3 to 4 dozen cookies)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2½ sticks unsalted butter (10 ounces), at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups butterscotch chips, plus 3 to 4 dozen more for adorning the tops of cookies  

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  (*Deb’s Note: My batch of cookie dough made 39 cookies so I actually ended up reusing one of the two baking sheets to bake the extras after the first batch came out of the oven.  My oven runs hot so I don’t use the bottom rack.  However, depending on how your oven is, you could definitely line 3 baking sheets and do them all in one shot)
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt using a large spoon.
  • Beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until creamy.  Add the egg followed by egg yolk and vanilla, beating well between additions and scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary.
  • Slowly beat in the dry ingredient mixture, then fold the 1¾ cups of butterscotch chips into the batter. (*Deb’s Note: I like getting my hands working in the dough, so I actually just dumped all the butterscotch chips in and mixed them in using my hands.  You could use a large spoon though if you don’t prefer this method).
  • Roll mounds of cookie dough into balls, about golf ball size.  Place the cookie dough balls onto the baking sheets, 15 balls to a sheet.  Take the 3 to 4 dozen butterscotch chips and press one butterscotch chip onto the top of each cookie dough ball.  Don’t press so hard the chip sinks in or the dough ball starts to crack, but put just enough pressure on it so that it stays in place.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes, until cookies are golden brown around the edges.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely (*Deb’s Note: Mine took 14 minutes in the oven).

These cookies are incredibly simple and they’re super delicious!  They’re soft, chewy, and the butterscotch flavour comes out full force.  I’m so excited to expand on this recipe and make it into a butterscotch almond cookie!  That I will probably do in the new year, so look forward to that and many more cookies to come!

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Recipe inspired by Food & Wine magazine.  Sampson, Sally.  “How Baking Can Change the World.” Food & Wine November 2011: 130.