Brown sugar and butter are the two main components of butterscotch, but for some reason, it is very tricky to really nail down the flavor – if it were easy, most chocolate chip cookies would have a strong butterscotch flavor, not just a hint of brown sugar. These cookies, on the other hand, do have a butterscotch flavor. They have a lot of brown sugar in the recipe and a fair amount of butter. All that sugar melts in the oven, combining with the butter, and making a cookie that packs a lot of flavor even though it looks very plain. There is also quite a bit of vanilla extract in the dough, which gives the overall flavor a smoothness and a nice, rich note.
The cookie dough is very easy to make. It isn’t as thick as most doughs, and for this reason I prefer to wrap it up in wax paper and chill it before baking. Slicing cookies off of a frozen log of dough is a great way to ensure that all the cookies are about the same size. It also helps to control their spread slightly, and these cookies spread out a lot to be quite thin. They’re still moist and chewy in the middle and crisp on the edges, though! If you want the cookies to be very chewy all over, reduce the baking time by about a minute. If you want them to be more crisp, bake them until the edges are slightly browned.
My favorite thing about this particular cookie recipe is that there is quite a bit of salt in it. This gives the finished cookies the same slightly salty note that salted caramels have and keeps the cookies from being too sweet. It also makes your mouth water for more after eating one. I would only use unsalted butter (I normally use unsalted butter anyway) in this recipe so that you have good control over the amount of salt in the finished cookie. If you must use salted butter, cut back on the amount of added salt a bit.
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (unsalted*)
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until mixture resembles wet sand. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, or working by hand, blend in flour mixture until no streaks of flour remain. Transfer dough, which will be very sticky, to a large piece of wax paper and roll it up into a log.
Freeze for at least 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut dough into slices no more than 1/4-inch thick and place on prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for the cookies to spread.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies just begin to turn golden around the edges.
Cool for a minute on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cookies should be cooled completely before eating (otherwise they might stick to your teeth) and can be stored in an airtight container.
Makes 3 dozen.
*Note: I always use unsalted butter in recipes, but since this one calls for quite a bit of salt, I’d take extra care to use unsalted here. If you only have salted butter, you might want to reduce the salt the recipe calls for slightly.