Salt and sugar go together like coffee and cream — each brings the other to new heights. These butterscotch cookies are heavily laced with toasted pecans and butterscotch chips. Love salty/sweet? They’re rolled in a mixture of sugar and salt before baking, which gives them over-the-top flavor.
There are a few of options once you have the dough made. If you bake the cookies right away, you’ll have a flatter, lighter-colored cookie. Refrigerate it for 4 to 5 hours, the cookies will be flat, but not “puddle-y.” Chill overnight, and the dough dries out, with some of the starch in the flour turning to sugar. The cookies will be darker, more “caramel-y,” and won’t spread nearly as much.
Also, these cookies are a good candidate for the “tablespoon vs. teaspoon” scoop choice. A tablespoon cookie scoop (actually 4 level measuring teaspoons) will yield big, 3″ cookies; a teaspoon scoop (1 3/4 level measuring teaspoons) will make smaller (2 1/4″) cookies.
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- 1 1/3 cups pecan halves
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon butterscotch, vanilla-butternut, or butter-rum flavor
- 1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/3 cups butterscotch chips
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, for topping*
- *If you’re making smaller (teaspoon cookie scoop-sized) cookies, increase the coating to 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar mixed with 1 3/4 to 2 teaspoons salt.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
- Place the pecans in a single layer in a pan, and toast until they’ve darkened a bit and smell toasty, about 8 to 9 minutes. Set them aside to cool, then chop coarsely.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, espresso powder, baking soda, vanilla, flavor, and vinegar, beating until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in the egg, again beating until smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
- Mix in the flour, then the chips and toasted nuts.
- If you’re going to refrigerate the dough, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for about 4 to 5 hours; or overnight. Cookie dough refrigerated for 3 1/2 to 4 hours will spread moderately; chilled overnight, it will spread much less.
- Mix the 1/3 cup sugar and salt for the coating, and put it in a bowl. Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/2″ balls of dough into the sugar/salt mixture, rolling to coat. Then transfer to the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between them on all sides; they’ll spread quite a bit. Or use a teaspoon cookie scoop to scoop 1 1/4″ balls of dough.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes — 11 minutes for smaller cookies, 12 for larger ones. Their edges will be chestnut brown and their tops a lighter golden brown. (For dough that’s been refrigerated, add 30 seconds to 1 minute to those baking times.) Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they’ve set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Yield: about 4 dozen 3″ cookies, or 7 dozen 2 1/4″ cookies.