Thursday, September 23, 2010

Big-Batch Butterscotch Cookies

Much of the pleasure of baking comes from sharing. Sure, sharing with friends and family is great, and we get so much pleasure from seeing them savor what we've made. This is different, baking for people I don't know, kids really, who live on the street in Chicago. A more modest kind of satisfaction, but maybe even longer lasting.

I'd heard of the Night Ministry, I knew they offered health services and counseling to homeless and runaway teens, but I didn't know about the cookies. In addition to their other programs, the Night Ministry offers food. Sack suppers are offered from a table set outside their Health Bus, or at drop ins. Area community groups donate the sack suppers (sandwich, chips or pretzels, cookies) and in the case of my local church, the cookies are homemade. Every month, church folk meet and prepare 200 sack suppers, which means they bake 400 cookies.

This month, I was honored to chip in with some butterscotch cookies. You know I can't resist any recipe in the "Big Batch" category, and I love butter/brown sugar flavors. I know they don't look incredible or fancy, never mind, they have great flavor and are chewy and satisfying.

Bakers notes: There's cream of tartar in this recipe, and I don't know why, since there is also baking powder. I added a bit of molasses, as I often do to brown sugar cookies, but it may have made the cookies a bit flat. If I were making them for a bake sale, I would add toasted chopped pecans, or chopped Heath bars. Charlie loved these, so I will make them again.

Big Batch Butterscotch Cookies
adapted from

    5 ¼    cups    all-purpose flour -- 26 ounces
    1    tablespoon    baking powder
    1 ½    teaspoon    baking soda
    ½    teaspoon    cream of tartar
     ¼    teaspoon    salt
    1 ½    cups    butter -- softened
    3    cups    packed brown sugar -- 21 ounces
    3        eggs
    1    tablespoon    vanilla extract
    1    teaspoon    molasses

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and molasses. Transfer to a larger bowl if necessary. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Drop by level tablespoonfuls (or cookie scoop of choice) 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets (I used silpat liners). Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yields about 65 cookies, using a tablespoon size dough scoop.

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