It was Knopf editor Judith Jones who helped make Julia Child a star. These are her favorite butterscotch cookies. A stack in a cel-o bag makes a terrific gift.
A few years ago, I happened to catch Martha Stewart cooking with Julia Child’s famed Knopf editor, Judith Jones promoting her autobiography The Tenth Muse. Ms. Jones was demonstrating her favorite butterscotch cookie recipe that she finagled from the old New York restaurant chain Schrafft’s.
She and her friend the late James Beard loved the cookies and enjoyed many deep discussions about the addictive flavor. Judith was exactly right. Now we can’t get enough of these cookies either. They epitomize yin yang balance–homey and sophisticated, crisp and chewy, salty and sweet, buttery and light. One bite causes a moment of inner peace, before automatically reaching for a second. It’s a very basic sugar cookie with two distinctive ingredients–DARK brown sugar and a little dry milk powder. When Martha asked about the dry milk powder, Judith shrugged and explained that the proportions were downsized for the home kitchen from a huge foodservice recipe. The dry milk powder stayed. I have a hunch that the milk powder contributes to the rich butterscotch taste, an ingredient that you can’t detect, but would miss if it wasn’t there. Our version further tweaks Judith’s by rounding out the ingredient list. This recipe will definitely be included in the Cheater Chef autobiography with a thank you to Judith and Schrafft’s. Take it, tweak it, and make it your own.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 generous cup finely chopped pecans
Heat the oven to 375 F.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer.
Add the egg, dry milk powder and vanilla and blend well.
Add the dry ingredients and blend well. Blend in the nuts.
You can cover and refrigerate the dough at this point to bake later.
With floured hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Or scoop out the dough with a small scooper.
Place them on a cookie sheet a couple of inches apart. One dozen cookies per large cookie sheet works well.
Flatten the cookies slightly with your floured fingers.
Bake 10 minutes or until the cookies are set and lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 36 cookies.