December 14th, 2012
I’m picky about holiday cookies. I don’t love butter cookies. (Seriously, I just don’t get them.) Jam filled bites don’t feel all that special to me. (Unless we’re talking about jam filled fried dough, aka jelly donuts, in which case I’ll shut up.) I’m once again learning to love peppermint. (Let’s just say that when I was 8-years-old, a stomach flu hit just a few hours after I ate an obscene number of peppermints.) I’m not a huge fan of chocolate. (You know, I can hear you boo’ing me even over the internet.)
You get the picture.
For me, holiday cookies should be simple and classic, spicy and fragrant, crispy and chewy. That’s what Santa (ahem) likes. So when he visits my house, the big guy gets Molasses Spice Cookies or Spiced Cider Meltaways or maybe just perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. No ganache, no wreathes, no meringue, but Santa is happy.
That doesn’t mean that Santa doesn’t like change. He (AHEM) does, so long as you keep things simple and classic, spicy and fragrant, crispy and chewy. So this year, when Santa comes to my house, he’ll happily feast on a batch of these Nutmeg Butterscotch Cookies.
Like my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies from Smitten Kitchen, when done correctly, these cookies have the perfect crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside texture. Their flavor comes from nothing more than a sprinkling of butterscotch chips (my favorite brand is by far E. Guittard) and lots of freshly grated nutmeg.
Let me repeat that: freshly grated nutmeg.
Grating fresh nutmeg is a pain in the ass comparatively speaking, but these cookies are dead simple otherwise, so you can spare the 5 minutes. Already ground nutmeg will give these cookies a sad, nagging flavor, instead of the spicy, slightly floral (in a fabulous way) flavor that you’ll get from fresh nutmeg. The freshly ground stuff has a delightfully perplexing effect that had my tastetesters guessing all kinds of crazy holiday spice combos, but it’s just nutmeg. It’s actually kind of amazing, like these cookies,
my, I mean, Santa’s new favorite.
Crispy, Chewy Nutmeg Butterscotch Cookies
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)*
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons ground nutmeg (I strongly recommend freshly grated, see above)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butterscotch chips (I recommend Guittard)
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla until the mixture light and creamy.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and continue mixing until just blended.
4. Stir in the butterscotch chips by hand. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop dough onto prepped cookie sheets placing cookies about 3″ apart. Using your hand, gently press down on each ball of dough to flatten slightly (this will help create an even chewy texture throughout the whole cookie). Bake for 10 minutes until just golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 2 minutes before using a spatula to transfer cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely and serve or store in an airtight container set on your counter for up to three days.
* Note: Though there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend this beginning at 12 months due to the high sugar content. No matter how older your eaters, be sure to serve age appropriate portions. A little of this super sweet treat goes a long way for little ones!
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