Few flavors are as recognizable as butterscotch. While it doesn’t have the star power of chocolate and isn’t as ubiquitous as vanilla, sweet, salty, complex butterscotch is a classic. Butterscotch is made by cooking brown sugar and butter together, but simply increasing the amounts of those ingredients in our icebox cookie dough wasn’t enough to create a convincing butterscotch cookie. Exchanging light brown sugar for dark helped amplify the butterscotch notes, but only slightly. Although it felt a bit like cheating, we came to the conclusion that butterscotch chips have come to define the flavor for us, and adding ½ cup of them to the dough gave our recipe plenty of butterscotch punch. However, when we simply stirred the chips into the dough, the cookies were impossible to slice neatly. Instead, we melted the chips and creamed them with the butter and sugar. While most recipes that use the creaming method to combine butter and sugar call for softened butter, we started with chilled butter here so it didn’t melt into a greasy mess when we added the melted butterscotch chips. Incorporating the chips this way made our cookies smooth and sliceable and provided bold butterscotch flavor throughout. Take that, chocolate.
- Yield: 32 Cookies
- ½ cup (3 ounces) butterscotch chips
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 9 tablespoons cut into 9 pieces and chilled
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup packed (5¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Microwave butterscotch chips and 3 tablespoons butter in bowl at 50 percent power until melted, about 1 minute, stirring halfway through microwaving. Whisk in vanilla until mixture is smooth; let cool for 10 minutes.
- Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat chilled butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add cooled butterscotch mixture and beat until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Add egg yolk and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low, add flour and baking powder, and mix until dough forms, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to counter and roll into 9-inch log. Wrap log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice chilled dough into ¼-inch-thick rounds and space them 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake until edges have darkened slightly, about 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.