Above, Curio’s vanilla salt and Pocketful of Starlight’s vanilla sugar. Not pictured: Niblack’s butterscotch products, which I think are the best available (and I use a lot of butterscotch products).

If you come to this blog often, you will already know that I am not a creator of recipes, but a finder, tester and tweaker of them. This recipe, for the Salty Sweet Pecan Cookie, is perfect as it is in its original form by King Arthur Flour. I have made their recipe multiple times and each time (with tweaks) it comes out a little better. I wouldn’t say I changed anything, but a few tweaks I’ve made include mixing dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, using more pecans (they suggest 1 & 1/3, I found that to be insufficient; ditto with the butterscotch chips) and as always, more vanilla and sugar: I’m a heavy pour on the sugar, and I always add at least 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla powder and about a 1/16th of curio’s vanilla bean powder to any recipe that can stand it.

Obviously, a recipe is only as good as its ingredients, so I have specified here the ones you might not have in your cabinet. If you have to ask “why spend $$ on expensive vanilla products?”, then you’re probably in the wrong place.

This cookie— cooked for about 12 minutes after being refrigerated for about 5 hours is maybe the best cookie I have eaten—let alone made—in years. Especially amazing since it contains no chocolate. The butterscotch chips definitely create that same feeling and texture sensation of eating your favorite chocolate chip cookie.

Cookie Dough

  • 2 cups pecan halves, roasted
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 stick, (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (plus some crushed vanilla bean by curio)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butterscotch flavor
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cup butterscotch chips (if you can find some without artificial flavor, please use that)

Sugar-Salt Topping

The original recipe specifies plain sugar and salt, but I use vanilla sugar and vanilla salt (by curio) you need to whisk vigorously to combine.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Sift flour, and combine dry ingredients: salt, baking powder, espresso powder, vanilla(s), chips.
  3. Roast pecans for 8-10 minutes (depending on your oven or toaster). Cool, then chop and add to the flour. (I found to get two cups of pecans roasted and chopped required slightly more measured out prior. But I could be nuts.)
  4. In a stand mixer, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, liquid vanilla flavor and vinegar, beating until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add the egg, beat until smooth.
  6. Add in the flour mixture. DON’T OVERMIX.
  7. Refrigerate for best results, about 4-5 hours.
  8. The original recipe says “two cookie sheets” but I make one of about a dozen cookies and re-refrigerate the rest. I found it’s good for about three days. Also, if you make them all you’ll eat more of them; you’ve been warned.
  9. I use my 1″ cookie scoop to scoop, then I lightly roll and then dip into sugar-salt mixture to coat. You would think this would result in very even cookie production, but so far it has not.
  10. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes (at 375). Remove when golden brown around the edges.