Archive for: butterscotch
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).
A good scone should be tender and buttery, and while it may not need accompaniments like butter, cream or jam to improve the overall flavor, it never hurts to have some at hand to finish the scone off as you eat it. These scones are a bit of an exception, because they really need no accompaniment – no matter how much you like spreading a bit of jam on your scones.
These Butterscotch Pecan Scones start out with a buttery, light scone dough and are studded with butterscotch chips and toasted pecans. Butterscotch chips are quite sweet on their own, but work very well against the buttery but not sweet background of the scone. I used lightly salted, toasted pecans in these to make sure that they would contrast well with the butterscotch chips and the butterscotch drizzle that I added. Feel free to use unsalted nuts, if you prefer, but do take the time to lightly toast them in a skillet to bring out their flavor and make them just a bit more crisp before adding them into the scone dough.
These scones are great when they are fresh, because the scone itself is crisp on the outside and very moist inside, with a great combination of flavors in each bite. I’d make them shortly before serving, if possible. That said, they do keep well when stored in an airtight container, loosing only a little crispness but none of the flavor. If you must make them in advance, don’t glaze them and pop them back into a 350F oven for a couple of minutes to freshen them up before serving!
If you’re from the Philadelphia area, I probably don’t have to tell you what Tastykakes are. For those of you who aren’t, Tastekakes are a regional brand of packaged snack cakes. Fans of these cakes will say that they’re better than those other brands (Hostess, etc), and I think they might be right. Tastykakes come in a wide variety of flavors, many of which are unique to the brand, and usually taste fresh and moist. I’ve made a homemade version of their Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes before, and this time around I decided to tackle Tastykake’s Butterscotch Krimpets, which are simple vanilla cakes that have a butterscotch icing.
Snack cakes, whether you’re taking Twinkies or Tastykakes, almost always have a sponge cake base. Sponge cake is more resilient (less crumbly) than butter cakes are and often stays moister, longer. I used a similar sponge cake base that I used to make my previous peanut butter Tastykakes, adding in some brown sugar to give the cakes themselves a little bit of a butterscotch flavor. The sponge cakes are made by beating lots of air into whole eggs, then folding in flour and finally mixing in hot milk and butter. The sponge turns out to be very light and moist. It’s nice on its own, with notes of butter, milk, brown sugar and vanilla, but a little on the plain side without the flavorful icing. It is very similar – although perhaps a bit better – to the taste and texture of a regular snack cake.
Most butterscotch icings rely on butterscotch chips to infuse them with flavor, and this is no exception. The frosting is very sweet, but since it is spread on in only a very thin layer on the cake, everything balances out by the time you go to eat it. I also tempered the frostings’ sweetness by mixing in a good-sized pinch of salt.
The cakes had a great butterscotch flavor and tasted fresh, moist and delicious. My tasters – a couple of Philly natives – said that they felt that this was what a butterscotch krimpet was supposed to taste like. I’m not sure about that myself, but they’re very good. The wavy shape I cut mine into was achieved by carving the sides with a knife to match the look of the packaged krimpets. You can come close by using Wilton’s ZigZag Cutter, but can also cut the bars into squares or rectangles for simplicity’s sake.
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.
Every election year, Good Housekeeping magazine runs a little article featuring favorite cookie recipes of the two potential first ladies. Readers are usually encouraged to try them and put a vote up for their favorite, like a little cookie election. I think it’s a cute idea and, while some of the commenters on the recipes on the GH website get a little fanatical about their support of one cookie over another, most people seem to like it, as well. I usually bake up batches of the “candidate” cookies, too, out of tradition.
This year is no exception and I tried out both Cindy McCain’s cookies and Michelle Obama’s. I’m writing them up in two parts (today and tomorrow) to keep things clear for recipe indexing purposes. These are Cindy McCain’s nominated cookies, Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies. The recipe is very similar to the recipe Nestle prints on their butterscotch chips, but with a couple of tweaks. She uses less butter (which I really appreciate), for instance. I’ve seen an article here and there panning her for using such a similar recipe – saying she “cheated” by “stealing” the recipe. I think that’s a bit silly for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that the contest isn’t for the “best original recipe” (it seems to be just a favorite cookie recipe). I know plenty of people who love Nestle’s Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies and would say in a heartbeat that it is their favorite cookie recipe. I also know plenty of people who don’t enjoy tinkering with recipes as much as I and other bloggers do and tend to stick with their favorites as-written. They’re just cookies and the contest is just for fun – definitely not something to get worked up over! If you must get upset, all that really comes out to is that there will be more cookies for me in the end.
Back on topic, these cookies are really, really tasty and were a huge hit at the party I brought them to – far moreso than I anticipated, since butterscotch chips are not always everyone’s cup of tea. They have a great oatmeal flavor to them and the butterscotch is not overwhelmingly sweet (although I will confess that I probably put in a touch more salt than the recipe called for). They stayed nice and chewy for a couple of days when stored in an airtight container, too.
The only caution I have is that the cookies will overbake easily because they are baked at a relatively high temperature. Take them out when the edges of the cookies are a light golden brown. The centers of the cookies will set up more as the cookies cool on the baking sheet once they have been taken out of the oven.