2016 is quickly drawing to a close as is the Christmas holiday. The air is getting lighter and cooler and baking season is in full swing. It's time for a special recipe from our Sweet Treats collection.
This cookie features a light and slightly salty dough that bakes up crisp on the edges while staying chewy (and gooey with those add-ins!) in the center. It enhances the flavours of the other ingredients rather than competing. Butterscotch chips give it the sweetness and the chopped nuts (pecans and hazelnuts or whatever you prefer) lend a satisfying crunch and saltiness. The chocolate! Chocolate is a crucial component to this as the right kind can really make or break a cookie. Because the butterscotch chips are super sweet, the recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate chips and a small amount of milk chocolate.
Truthfully, this cookie would be delicious all year round in spite of our New Year's Resolutions.
- Nuts - It is possible to purchase finely chopped roasted nuts ready to go in a blend (peanut, cashew, almond, walnut). Not only is it a time saver, but it ensures that the bites are easy to chew and won't hurt anyone's teeth.Make sure you taste a little scoop first to get an idea of how much salt they use. Depending on your taste, you might consider cutting back the salt in your dough. While the recipe calls for walnuts and hazelnuts, you can use any type of nuts (or none at all!). If you're watching your salt intake, consider buying the nuts unsalted and then roasting them at home. Be mindful of unchopped nuts that if you're dicing them up yourself exercise caution with your blades and consider how difficult it might be to bite.
- Chocolate - Not all chocolate is the same. One maker's milk chocolate can taste nothing like another's. To keep the flavour of balanced, you might need to consider using something other than milk chocolate. This is part of the fun of baking. Taste your ingredients! Experiment with different blends of chocolate from different companies. One semi-sweet or dark chocolate might turn you off, but a completely different brand may have the one that sends you over the moon!
- Flavoring - This recipe calls for vanilla as well as a tiny bit of rum extract. It is entirely up to you on if you add the rum. If you taste the butterscotch chips and they're super strong rather than mild and sweet, consider leaving out the rum.
- Add-ins Ratio - Once you have your chocolate chips, butterscotch and nuts collected, start with the ratio in the recipe below. Put them into a separate bowl and stir them up. Grab a bite (the best nontrail mix trail mix!) and have a taste. Too much nuts? Not salty enough? Too much butterscotch? Not enough of one type of chocolate? It's easier to adjust the ratio of the mix on its own than tasting the dough and having to stir and stir and stir more in because you can't take something out.
- 2c Flour
- 1tsp Baking soda
- 1/2tsp Salt (to taste)
- 1c Unsalted butter (soft)
- 1.75c Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4c Sugar
- 2 Eggs (room temperature)
- 2tsp Vanilla
- 1/4tsp Rum flavor
- 8oz Butterscotch chips
- 6oz Bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2oz Milk chocolate chips
- 1/2c Finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2c Finely chopped hazelnuts
- Slice up the butter and let soften on the counter.
- In an air tight container, combine the chips and nuts. Sample the 1 milk chocolate chip to 2 bittersweet to 4 butterscotch with a teaspoon of the nuts and adjust ratio to suit your tastes. More milk chocolate to balance the saltiness of the nuts. More of the bittersweet to cut through the richness of the butterscotch. More nuts for the saltiness to balance overall sweetness. Affix lid and set aside.
- In another bowl sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover and set aside.
- With a spoon, combine light brown sugar and sugar in a bowl making sure to crumble any lumps.
- Place softened, room temperature butter slices into mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment on low speed begin combining the butter and the first third of the sugar mix. Once the sugar is off the sides of the bowl (after a minute or so), dump in another third. Again, once the sugar is off the bowl and mostly in the sugar, and the last of the sugar blend. Pause and scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle.
- Add your vanilla (and/or other flavour) and begin creaming the butter and sugar. Increase to medium speed. You're looking for the mixture to lighten and the butter to be even softer and spreadable. The sugar will still be grainy, but the mix should be a light ivory beige.
- Crack your two eggs into a bowl and pierce their yolks with a fork. Add the eggs with broken yolks one at a time into the butter/sugar mix one at a time on low speed. Your goal is only to gently incorporate the eggs.
- Scrape down the bowl and paddle.
- In thirds, begin adding the sifted flour mixture. Let the paddle just incorporate the dry ingredients before pausing to scrape down the bowl and moving on to another third. Once all the flour mix has been evenly distributed into your dough and it's smooth, but not overly sticky, remove the bowl from the mixer.
- Retrieve your airtight container of cookie add-ins and begin with a one cup scoop. Using a firm spatula, cut and fold in the chips and nuts a scoop at a time. Take a clump of the dough intermittently and feel its texture. Use as much or as little in the dough as you like. if you have left over, you can put on the lid and make another dough for another day.
- In your hand the dough should be workable, not crumbly, and not a mess in your hands. Dump out onto parchment paper, roll up in a three inch column and chill for an hour.
- After the hour has passed, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and cut half inch slices of the dough. Roll the dough into a ball and place on your cookie sheet. These made 18 cookies that baked to the size of your palm and were about a half inch thick.
- Bake until the edges are golden brown and crispy. The center may still be soft, but if you examine the surface you'll see that the texture has changed if it's no longer raw. After baking, let the cookies cool for at least fifteen minutes to set up and firm. It might be hard to resist the super gooey-fresh-from-the-oven melted awesomeness though!
*A note about baking times. Ovens vary. As do pans. In a convection oven on nonstick Wilton cookie sheet, these took 13-15 minutes. Use the time as a guideline. Keep an eye on them. This also makes a great Pie in the Sky base. Rather than cutting individual cookies, use a cast iron skillet or a cake pan. Shape the dough either as a crust to support ice cream or thick for decadent pie-styled slices. Set up time out of the oven may take closer to an hour.