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.
bellaguinnessApril 17, 2009
Scrumptious! I’ll have to try these. I’ve been wanting to do sliced cookies as of late and these may just be the answer. Thanks.
StephApril 17, 2009
Now that is my kind of cookie.. thin and butterscotchy!
debbieApril 17, 2009
Looove the idea of a butterscotchy cooky. I worked for ages to get my chocolate chip cookies to be appropriately toffee-like. Gotta try these!
Baking MonsterApril 17, 2009
These look amazing!
unconfidentialcook.comApril 17, 2009
I bet these are just perfect…and what about adding some chocolate chips (I’m a chocoholic)?
ElyseApril 17, 2009
Yum! These sound totally delicious!!
jdmorrisApril 18, 2009
Now I know the combination of brown sugar & butter creates the main component of butterscotch.I will try this, for all the ingredients are can easily found in the kitchen.
plotyApril 18, 2009
Gotta try these!
Jenn's Baking ChamberApril 18, 2009
I love the look of these cookies, very thin and chewy looking! im sure they taste great. They would be good as sandwich cookies or served with ice cream.
ErinApril 18, 2009
This sounds like a very unique cookie recipe. I’m definitely going to have to give it a try. Butterscotch is such an underused flavor. Thanks for sharing!
Farmgirl SusanApril 18, 2009
Okay, I just pulled a stick of butter out of the freezer about an hour ago so I could make your coconut lemon bread that I’ve been drooling over for the past two days. I may have to rethink that plan – or defrost another stick. These look wonderful. 🙂
JodyeApril 19, 2009
So simple, and so utterly perfect!
Alisa - Frugal FoodieApril 19, 2009
A butterscotch concept that I can easily make dairy-free, thanks!
VernonApril 19, 2009
Have eaten butter cookies but never butterstoche. Will have to give it a try.
HannahApril 19, 2009
I tried these cookies this weekend and they are fabulous! They have a great, full flavor for being such small, thin cookies. They taste like butterscotch only if you know that is what they are supposed to taste like. To me, they taste like really really cookie chocolate chip cookie dough (without the chocolate obviously) that borders on butterscotch. It’s very interested and very good!
My only problem was with the dough. You weren’t kidding when you said it was sticky! I put it in the freezer overnight to get it as firm as possible, but I still was not able to cut slices off the log. I ended up having to roll them in my hand quickly then flatten them out on the cookie sheet. Any further suggestions on dealing with the dough? I will be making these again!
lisaiscookingApril 20, 2009
I can tell by your description that these will become my favorite cookies! Can’t wait to try them.
ClaytonApril 20, 2009
looks delicious! I am gonna try.
AnneApril 22, 2009
I made these – they turned out very nicely! I didn’t freeze the dough, but simply put it in the fridge for a while to firm up, and then scooped onto a cookie sheet. Worked well enough, and was extremely popular at work. (Although everyone thought they were gingerbread cookies, and then very surprised at the flavor.)
iJune 30, 2009
these are soooo sooo sooooo delicious!!!! thanks!
SteveJuly 12, 2009
A sticky, gooey disaster that sticks to the cookie sheets and turns into tuile like brown lace in a few minutes. The proportions are wrong here and even freezing doesn’t help.
NicoleJuly 12, 2009
Steve – Sorry that you didn’t have success with this recipe. I can assure you that the proportions are not incorrect, but as with all recipes, sometimes a little (unintentional) change or difference can make a big difference in the result. I hope it works out better next time!
miaAugust 18, 2009
Although the dough started of EXTREMELY sticky, I managed to freeze it into an ugly log, then an hour later I reshaped it into a log, worke out great! They’re in the oven right now!
Thanks for the recipe.
LaurenOctober 10, 2009
This recipe has too much sugar for the amount of flour. It was a mess! I’m afraid to try other recipes on your site. Perhaps this one was just a dud?
katkats kitchenMay 12, 2010
Excellent flavour and very east to make lovely with coffee, though next time I may add a touch of cardamom
PamDecember 26, 2010
After I lost my grandmother’s butterscotch cookie recipe, I was certain I would never find another one – but this one is the closest I have found. THANK YOU!!! You’ve made my family VERY happy!!!
Hahne's BonbonsMay 3, 2011
Enjoy your site very much! Thanks for this unique recipe. I’m making a second batch of these. I made some adjustments though, here’s what I did:
-Used only half the amount of salt
-added half cup of flour
-baked at 400 F for 9 mins (used airbake cookie sheets)
-Added some Dark rum, nutmeg and allspice for a kick
Its great to watch them bake because they puff out as they heat up but then as the sugar caramelizes they flatten out! Will post a links to pics if I get the chance.
RoseJune 2, 2011
re: “Hahne’s Bonbons”:
Adding a half-cupful of flour sounds like it will alleviate the
“stickiness” problem some bakers had. Now I’ll try the recipe, adding the flour and also the cardamom flavor suggested by kitkat, and half the salt. Sounds really good!
SharonDecember 9, 2011
I have a batch of dough in the freezer, that i was supposed to make earlier this week, but didn’t get around to it because I wan’t feeling well, my dough is also still very sticky. I think I might add flour to the dough and roll it out. I really wanted a slice cookie recipe though. I did taste the batter though, and it tasted like it has some great potential.
robinFebruary 27, 2013
oo how about adding some pecans to the batter….
and a bit of grated chocolate..
LarryJanuary 7, 2015
I’ve made these twice now. I suggest you be careful about cooking time since they will burn easily. I’ve also found they taste best cold, so store them in the refrigerator to bring out a real butterscotch flavor.