Oh we’ve all been dumped, if you haven’t, well then ask your mom about that. My college tour took me through Colorado and Vermont. Promptly after I took the requisite traipse though Europe. I took an unexpected detour to London to recover from all the cathedrals, museums, stinky cheese, excessive walking and dirty youth hostels at my friend Alex’s flat. There I got the call that my job request at a theatre in Houston had come through and I did indeed have a future. After 4 years of freezing my booty off in Colorado and Vermont they offered a pittance of salary, slave labor hours, heath insurance and warm weather! The move was on after I returned from doing my laundry in London.
Soon after the move I met that man, you know, the crappy boyfriend we all somehow have to make our way through to find the real deal. That guy, you’ve dated him, your friends dated him or maybe you have been him or are in the process of being him, ahem. He is the guy all your friends raise an eyebrow to, some dare to express their distaste, but usually keep their mouths shut and you just absorb their animosity through osmosis all the while pretending it’s not there. Some of us never find our way away from that guy but fortunately I only had the one, OK, OK one and a half, maybe two. Anyhow, this particular one was - well - to be euphemistic, just awful and the break up a complete disaster. Moving on, I consoled myself with books. Some people buy clothes or eat I bought books. I didn’t go to the library, oh no, full price for me, let’s pay for it. I bought many books the one prized book was, in my opinion at the time, expensive, hard cover too; an expensive cookbook, a whole $30. This book was going to keep me occupied, it would pay for itself.
At this point I was truly teaching myself to cook. Once a show at the theatre was up and running I had a generous amount of time on my hands to clean my house (with a toothbrush, mouldings included) and cook. This cookbook appealed to me because it was basic, clean food, straight forward. I’m not sure I made much else out of it besides the cookies. Let me add, I don’t bake, much. Baking is a science, and scientist I am not and I don’t really like sweets. Cookies make other people happy, especially a theatre full of actors and technicians hanging around work for 14 hour stretches. Somehow I came to disdain the cookbook, I’m unclear if that’s a reflection on the boyfriend or my cooking snobbery. However, I still have it and have toted it around move after move. Jim pulled it out the other day, and I was sort of shocked by its appearance in the kitchen (who let you in the front door?) and the dish he made was elegant and extremely tasty.
The cookie recipe was for chocolate chip cookies and they were way too sweet for me so I kept exploring and changing and reworking them and eventually came up with this recipe. It’s still sweet and it’s not a chocolate chip cookie but it comes from fond memories of tinkering around in that sunny apartment, in my twenties, in Houston on my days off from toiling at the theatre. You can easily make them as chocolate chip if you prefer. It’s nice to revisit them.
Butterscotch Pecan Cookies - Makes 2-3 dozen
2 cups flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks of butter (8 oz.) (room temperature)
2 extra large eggs (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup pecans halves lightly broken
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Cream together butter and sugars with a hand mixer on slow, add in eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. Once combined add in dry ingredients, slowly, (I do this in four batches) mix until incorporated then add more. Using a spatula stir in candy and nuts. Bake on an un-greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until slightly browned at the edges. Let baked cookies sit for a minute or two before removing them with a spatula from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack, this keeps them from collapsing in the middle. Scrape off left behind cookie bits and slightly cool cookie sheet before preparing another batch for the oven.