Butterscotch Cookies

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Dear God, please let there be a diet in which I have permission to eat dozens of guest author Garrett McCord‘s butterscotch cookies at a time without any consequences beyond a happy smile on my face. Thank you. Amen. Elise.

Butterscotch is a classic dessert flavor that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The key flavors that make up butterscotch are brown sugar and melted butter, preferably brown as well. When combined these two ingredients create a rich, old school flavor that most people associate with butterscotch pudding or candy.

I learned to make these cookies during my internship at the Grange restaurant in Sacramento under the tutelage of pastry chef, Elaine Baker. Buttery, nutty, and rich with a slight caramel flavor these cookies are horribly addictive.

Butterscotch Cookies

Before baking these cookies are rolled in brown sugar and then get a little bit of salt sprinkled on top to punctuate the sweetness.

This crispy, crunchy cookie is easy to make (you probably have all the ingredients on hand) and guaranteed to make your usual cookie rotation. Best served to friends and family with tall glasses of cold milk or mugs of hot coffee for dipping.

Butterscotch Cookies Recipe

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  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized slices
  • 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar Dredging Mixture

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar

Sprinkling salt

  • Fleur de sel, Maldon, sea salt, or Kosher salt for sprinkling*

*Do not use fine grain table salt (aka: iodized salt) as the flavor will be way off and unpleasant.

Method

1 Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2 Vigorously whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside. Mix together the brown sugar white sugar dredging mixture in another bowl and set aside.

3 Place 10 tablespoons of butter into a thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat. The butter will foam a bit before subsiding. Once the butter takes on a tan color and begins to smell nutty take it off of the heat. Add the other two tablespoons of butter and mix it in until it melts. (See tutorial on how to brown butter.)

4 Pour the brown butter into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar and salt and mix. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix together, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once.

Add the flour mixture in three increments being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom once or twice. Mix just until the flour is incorporated. The dough will be very thick.

5 Take 1/2 to full tablespoon-sized pieces of dough (you can make them a bit bigger or smaller to your liking, just make sure the pieces of dough are all the same size) and gently roll them into ball shapes.

Dredge them in the sugar dredging mixture until well-coated.

Place on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little bit of the sprinkling salt (be reserved with the salt as very little goes a long way).

6 Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges have browned a bit. Be careful not to over-bake. Allow to cool on the sheet for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Tastes best with a glass of milk for dipping.

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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a food writer, writing instructor, culinary consultant, freelance food photographer, and recipe developer who shares his enthusiasm for food and the written word through his blog Vanilla Garlic. Garrett's cookbook, co-authored with Stephanie Stiavetti, is Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

More from Garrett

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Butterscotch Sauce Recipe by Shuna Lydon

Showing 4 of 66 Comments

  • Lori

    I made these as a thank you to a co-worker. He wanted butterscotch chip cookies. I love to bake and came across this and figured what the ?! Took some patience, but fun to make. That co worker hasn’t told me what he thinks yet, but I gave a few to my boyfriend, “That was a damn good cookie! I only had one. Off the hook!” Will definitely be one of the things I bring for Thanksgiving Or Christmas. @Garrett…what do you think about baking it bar style with the dredge on top like a crisp?

  • Jacqueline

    I only have a hand mixer, but, obsessed by my hankering for butterscotch, I plowed recklessly ahead. Happy to report that my little mixer did just fine with the very thick dough, and I now have a rapidly shrinking batch of these crazy-delicious cookies!

  • serene

    Hi there,
    Just want to say I am a huge fan of this site. Easy to follow recipes, clear instructions and man,this recipe was great. My dough was also on the crumbly but it didn’t affect the taste nor texture. Will definately be making these again.

  • Kristen

    Should I pack the brown sugar when measuring for the dough? I am looking forward to trying these out for a cookie exchange.

  • Nivedita

    Fabulous! I got 55 perfect cookies from carefully measured tablespoons and one small blob which might have been a whole cookie, if I hadn’t snuck bits of dough. I waited so many years after bookmarking this recipe, because of all the sugar and butter, but it is so worth the calorie splurge!

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