Are These Cookies the Real Deal?: Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies

A few months ago, I put King Arthur Flour's "Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookie" on my to-bake list. I learned that it was one of the website's top rated cookie recipes (I was happy to see that Almond Clouds, one of my absolute favorites, also made the list), and since I am a big sweet + salty fan, it seemed to be right up my alley. I've rarely seen such raves about a cookie; King Arthur baker/blogger PJ Hamel (who bakes a lot of cookies) said they "might be the best cookies I've ever baked" and called them "DA BOMB." The only problem was that the recipe calls for both butterscotch chips and butterscotch flavoring, two ingredients I don't stock in my kitchen. Once I finally got all my butterscotch supplies, I was ready to give the recipe a try.

Making the cookie dough is straightforward. You beat together brown sugar, sugar, butter, shortening, salt, espresso powder, baking soda, vanilla, butterscotch flavoring, and vinegar until creamy, followed by an egg, flour, butterscotch chips and toasted pecans (I used pecan pieces instead of halves). The shape of the cookie will depend on whether and how long you refrigerate the dough before baking (read more about this on the King Arthur blog, here). I refrigerated the dough for five hours before scooping it out, rolling each ball of dough in a mixture of sugar and salt, and baking.

These turned out to be incredibly attractive cookies: the deep golden color, cracked surface, and nooks and crannies from the nuts and chips were all beautiful. They also had a wonderful moist, chewy texture. As for the taste, I was a little disappointed. First, even though I had rolled the cookies in a sugar-salt mixture with the amount of salt at the high end of the suggested range, they didn't have the assertive salty kick I was hoping for. Second, I have never been a fan of butterscotch chips because I find their artificial orange color and the artificial flavoring to be off-putting (I used Nestle chips, not the Guittard brand chips the King Arthur folks heartily recommend). Something about this cookie tasted slightly fake to me; I'm not sure if it was the chips or the butterscotch flavoring in the dough. 

That said, these cookies were quite popular with tasters. Even I found myself going back for seconds. Maybe there is something to enjoying fake flavors every once in a while; I learned to embrace imitation vanilla for Christina Tosi's confetti cookies. I wouldn't call this the best cookie I ever I've baked, not by a longshot -- but I can't deny the small guilty pleasure I derived from eating it.

Recipe: "Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies" from King Arthur Flour.

Previous Post: "Brown Sugary Sweetness: Clementine's Butterscotch Brownies," April 13, 2011.


Louise said…
I don't think I could bring myself to use butterscotch flavoring so I'll have to pass on this one. It's probably a good thing as I have a really long list of cookies yet to be baked.