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Butterscotch Cookies

Melted butter, brown sugar, and chopped nuts produce a seductive butterscotch flavor in this old-time recipe from Vermont.

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not regular flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 3/4 sticks (7/8 cup) unsalted butter (we used regular butter)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nuts in a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside. In a small, heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, melt the butter and simmer it slowly until it is a deep golden yellow and the sediment at the bottom has browned very slightly. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent the sediment from burning. Pour the melted butter into a measuring cup (strain it through a small cheesecloth-lined sieve if the sediment has burned), then pour 3/4 cup of it into a large heatproof mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar and beat until well mixed. Allow the mixture to stand until warm, but not hot, and add the egg, beating vigorously until the mixture is the consistency of mayonnaise. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in thirds and beat until well combined.

Turn the dough out on a work surface and form into 2 logs 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in wax paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, then smooth them into even logs, rewrap in wax paper and then in foil, and freeze for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. (We put the temperature at 350 degrees). Remove the rolls from the freezer one at a time, place on a cutting board and with a sharp knife cut into slices just under 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes in the middle of the oven, or just until the edges of the cookies are golden. The cookies will be roughly the size of a half dollar. Transfer to racks to cool. Store in an airtight container for 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes about 70 cookies

Tester's note: The first batch of these cookies burned very quickly with the temperature at 375 degrees. I lowered the temperature and watched them carefully.

"The Christmas Cookie Book"
by Judy Knipe and Barbara Marks
Tested by Johnna A. Pro

Thursday, December 07, 2000

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