Butterscotch is a great flavor and consists primarily of brown sugar and butter. As one of the primary flavor components is sugar, butterscotch can be fairly sweet on its own. This makes it a great candidate for salting – by which I mean adding a few extra pinches of salt to a recipe to give it a savory edge on top of all that sweetness. It works with caramel, and it works with butterscotch.
These cookies have a nice butterscotch flavor to them thanks to both butter and brown sugar in the cookie dough. They get another butterscotch kick from the addition of butterscotch chips, as well as a crunch from crispy, toasted pecans. They’re good as-is – slightly chewy and with a great combination of flavors – and aren’t too sweet in spite of all that butterscotch. That said, they’re even better if you take a pinch of coarse salt and sprinkle it on top of the cookies before you bake them. This trick adds salt in little bursts of flavor that melt on your tongue, giving the cookies an addictive quality without making them simply seem oversalted.
I simply designated the amount of salt to use below as “a pinch.” I used about 1 large pinch – less than 1/2 a teaspoon – for each tray of cookie dough that I put into the oven. Coarse salt, whether you’re using flaky Maldon salt (which I used) or a coarse kosher salt, stands out and you don’t need to use a whole lot of it to get the point across. Give each cookie a sprinkle, bake your batch and enjoy. If you find they need a little more salt, use a little bit more on the next batch. If you absolutely don’t have coarse salt, give the baking sheet a light dusting of table salt before the cookies go into the oven for a similar effect (although I really would recommend going for a coarse salt for this one).
Salted Butterscotch Pecan Cookies
1 3/4 cups all purpose all purpose
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (pref. dark brown)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
coarse salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour mixture. Stir in butterscotch chips and chopped pecans.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches of room between each cookie. Sprinkle each dough ball with coarse salt.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are golden brown around the edge. Centers will be light; allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes to allow cookies to set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen.