I was the best Bluebird in my troop, at least when it came to candy sales. I don’t remember most of what I did as a Bluebird, but I have vivid memories of shilling treats, the awards I earned for my sales numbers, and the resulting “jamboree” I got to attend. Some people grow up as a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, but I was a Camp Fire Kid. Every January, we sold a variety of treats (our big sellers were mint patties, some turtle clusters, and Almond Roca), door-to-door or seated at a card table in front of the local grocery store. My parents—either genius or negligent—allowed me to peddle my goods during a snowstorm, which led to extremely high sales and a staggering quantity of hot chocolate in my belly.
But I also pulled a shift at the Safeway down the street, where I attempted to convince a passerby that she needed some candy. “Oh no, thank you, I couldn’t,” she said. “Have you ever tried Almond Roca? It’s really, really good,” I replied, attempting to appeal to her sense of culinary adventure. “Oh, it’s delicious…” “It’s only $3 a box! Or two for $5!”
“Yes, but if I buy them, then I’ll eat them.”
I’ll never forget that reply. As a child, I was completely baffled. Yes, of course you would eat the food that you bought. Why wouldn’t you? It was only later that I realized she meant that delicious Almond Roca would be too great a test of her self-control, and she’d find herself sneakily unwrapping those toffee bricks while no one was looking, perhaps hiding the wrappers beneath other rubbish in the trash can so as not to be confronted with evidence of her own gluttony.
You guys, I’m gonna be straight with you: If you bake these cookies, you will eat them. You will probably eat an undignified number of them, right in a row. And if you’re anything like me, you won’t mind one bit. You didn’t bake cookies just so you could stare at them. You baked cookies so you could enjoy sweetness, caramel notes, and unbeatable chewiness. Maybe you baked them because you wanted something with which to make the perfect ice cream sandwiches. Maybe you just wanted to make someone fall in love with you. These are all good reasons to make these cookies.
Oh, did I mention they’re incredibly simple?
Chewy Salted Butterscotchies
Active time: 20 minutes | Total time: 2 hours | Yield: 26 cookies
1 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, plus more for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Place sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet (not nonstick), melt butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once butter melts and starts to foam, stir continuously until foam starts to subside. When the flecks on the bottom of the pan begin to brown and butter smells nutty, remove from heat.
- Quickly pour browned butter on top of sugar and stir to combine (note that sugar will not entirely absorb all the melted butter). Stir in egg and vanilla until combined, then add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir until well-blended. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. With a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop, portion dough into balls, roll in your hands to smooth, and roll in brown sugar. Place 9 balls on sheet, flatten to 1/2-inch thick, and bake 10 minutes. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes, than transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough balls. Once cooled, store cookies in an airtight container. They’ll probably last 4 or 5 days if you don’t eat them first.