CakeSpy Note: I am so glad you have plenty of money, because there's another book you should buy this year in addition to my CakeSpy oeuvre. It's called In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World and it's by Cara and Phoebe of Big Girls Small Kitchen. Here's a guest post from these talented sweeties:
There are about a million reasons to bake, most of which are enumerated right here on CakeSpy. Sweets bring such pleasure, and they’re the easiest treats to share.
But sometimes a batch of baked goods is not just about the chocolate (or the butter or the sugar or the maple syrup). We send off treats when we want to express an emotion or make a gesture that we’re just not eloquent enough to put into words. We bake, box, and deliver, and poof!—we’ve conveyed how we feel.
So whether it’s guilt, atonement, or pity you need to demonstrate, we’ve got the sweet for you in our book, In the Small Kitchen, which comes out on Tuesday, May 24th! A whole section, called “Tins of Treats” is organized by emotion and the treat that goes with it. (In case you can’t wait, the answer is: brownies assuage guilt, “lotus” blondies are for atonement, and classic chocolate chip cookies are best for ameliorating a pitiable situation.)
For now, something simple: cookies for gratitude. It’s possible this is what cookies were invented for.
These Butterscotch Pecan Cookies are something special, as is fitting when you’re thankful. Their toothsome texture makes each bite melt in your mouth, and the sweet taste of butterscotch is balanced every so slightly by espresso. But the best part is the sweet-and-savory coating: these babies get a roll in a sugar-salt mix before going into the oven to caramelize and bake. Gratitude, indeed!
Butterscotch Pecan Cookies
Makes 24-30 cookies
If you can’t find butterscotch extract, use 3/4 cup butterscotch chips and decrease the pecans to 1 ¼ cups.
- 2 cups (8-ounces) raw pecans
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon butterscotch extract (see note)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
for coating the cookies:
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment (or just bake in batches).
2. Spread the pecan halves on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, checking every minute or so after 5 minutes have passed. You want the nuts to be fragrant and sweet but not burnt. Set aside to cool. (You can do this step a while in advance.)
3. Put 3/4 cup cooled pecans in a food processor. Pulse on and off until the pecans are just ground--you don't want to turn them into a paste.
4. On a cutting board, chop the remaining 1 ¼ cups pecans into small pieces. Put the ground and chopped nuts in a small bowl and add the flour, baking soda, and teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
5. In a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixture, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.
6. Add the egg, beat until combined, then mix in the extracts and espresso powder.
7. Pour the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix just until the flour is incorporated.
8. Prepare the coating: mix together the additional sugar and salt on a shallow plate. Form the dough into 2-inch balls, and roll the balls in the sugar-salt mixture until coated. Place the balls on a baking sheet 3 inches apart.
9. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the bottoms are golden and the tops are just barely firm. Remove and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before gently removing to racks or plates to cool completely.