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Butterscotch Cookies

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

Great- great- grandma Nellie has a recipe in her book for Butterscotch Cookies that she perfected. When I say perfected, I say that because she has notes updated and improving the same recipe from 1948, 1951, 1965, 1971 and 1980. I love that she didn't settle for just an 'okay' Butterscotch Cookie...she strived to make it a GREAT Butterscotch Cookie.

I did a little research about this type of cookie recipe and it appears it's known as an ice box or refrigerator cookie. This is because it's meant to be rolled into a log and cooled overnight. In addition, as a butterscotch cookie, there are multiple variations of this recipe on the internet with some including pecans or walnuts and others incorporating actual butterscotch chips. However, this recipe relies solely on a ton of brown sugar and butter to carry the deep and rich butterscotch flavor throughout every bite of the cookie. I also couldn't find anything with nearly as much butter or brown sugar than what is noted for this recipe. SO. MUCH. BUTTER. AND. SUGAR. You know this is going to be a great recipe and the fact that you can keep it in the fridge means you can prepare it in advance and slice and bake the cookies when you need them! Perfect for a mid-week gathering or that upcoming holiday cookie swap.

I've put an * by the items I can purchase at my Illinois farmers market.


  • 3 cups brown sugar

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1/2 pound (or 1 cup or 2 sticks) butter

  • 4 well beaten eggs*

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter up to 3/4 teaspoon salt)

  • 6 cups flour, measured after sifting

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar


  • Combine the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar in a large bowl.

  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer until stiff. Pour into flour bowl.

  • In the same bowl as you whipped the eggs, cream the butter by mixing together the brown and white sugar as well as the butter. Then add in the vanilla.

  • Pour into the flour bowl and combine.

  • Form the cookie dough into a long loaf and cover tightly with saran wrap. Let the dough stand covered in saran wrap in the fridge overnight.

  • Take roll out and slice into fairly thin cookies. Cut only enough to bake in one batch - keep dough cool!

  • Place evenly on parchment paper (leaving room between cookies) and bake for 11-12 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

  • Remove from pan and let cool.

  • Enjoy!

Serving size: Makes about 2-4 dozen cookies depending on how thick your slice your "fairly thin" cookies.

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