Butterscotch. It sounds strange to say, but I didn't really like butterscotch until recently. It should be the other way around, but as a kid I just thought butterscotch was sweet and not much else. I imagine that might be due to many really bad butterscotch candies or instant butterscotch puddings. It's not until I started actively working with candy and sugar that I started to understand what real butterscotch was about. It's about butter. The amazingness of butter. THAT is something to appreciate.
When butterscotch is made properly - no corn syrup, no weird additives, no hydrogenated fats - it tastes so deeply of browned butter and molasses-y brown sugar, how could that be a bad thing? Though true butterscotch is a candy confection, the classic butterscotch flavor is used in a ton of alternative ways - in puddings, sauces for ice cream, cakes, and cookies. And here are some butterscotch cookies.
A touch of crisp on the outside, dense and slightly chewy on the inside, a sprinkling of flaky sea salt brings out the deep nutty flavor and balances the richness. Recipe after the jump:
SALTY BUTTERSCOTCH BUTTONS
Adapted from Simply Recipes
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized slices
1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar, for dredging
Fleur de sel, Maldon, sea salt, or Kosher salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside. Place the sugar for dredging in another bowl and set aside.
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.
Pour the brown butter into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar and salt and mix well. 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.
Take 1/2 tablespoon sized pieces of dough (I used a 1-inch diameter scoop to insure that all cookies were about the same size) and gently roll them into ball shapes. Dredge them in the sugar until well-coated. Place on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little bit of the sprinkling salt.
Bake for 10-11 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.
Makes 4 dozen.