If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE sweets. I will scarf down my dinner in minutes, just so I can have my dessert, and at restaurants, I often order milkshakes or other desserts as my meal. My suitemates always yell at me when I do this, but I just can’t help myself :) Anything of the saccharine and sugary sort makes me melt into a puddle of syrupy bliss.
This is why I was completely baffled when I began seeing recipes for salted desserts all over the Internet: salted fudge brownies, salted oatmeal cookies, and salted ice cream. Why on earth would your ruin a perfectly wonderful dessert with SALT?! I wondered. When I walked into the Starbucks on the ground floor of my building, I even saw a sign for Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. I was thoroughly disgusted.
But if people were raving about all of these desserts, they must be good right? Edible, at least? So I decided to be brave and try it out. I made butter pecan cookies rolled in a mixture of sugar and salt. While I was mixing up the dough, I prayed that I wouldn’t have to throw the finished cookies in the trash. All of that worrying was for nothing. These cookies were spectacular! The sweet and salty combo is delightful, and the perfect complement to the buttery pecan flavors of these cookies.
I almost didn’t get to experience the wonders of sweet and salty cookies though. I realized that we were out of brown sugar and panicked. How could I possibly make delicious cookies without brown sugar? Thankfully, Joy the Baker came to the rescue with this ingenious method. I simply drizzled a tablespoon of molasses over a cup of plain white sugar and beat it with a fork until it was thoroughly incorporated, and yayyy I had brown sugar!
If you are VERY skeptical like I was about putting salt in your desserts, don’t be. Try it out and you will become a salted dessert convert, I promise!
Sweet & Salty Butter Pecan Cookies
Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1 1/3 cups pecan halves
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup butterscotch chips
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 -1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease two large baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.
2. Place the pecan halves in a single layer on a pan and toast in the oven for 8-9 minutes. Coarsely chop pecans and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, and vinegar until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg until smooth.
4. Stir in flour until just incorporated. Fold in chopped pecans and butterscotch chips.
5. If desired refrigerate dough overnight, or bake immediately. Chilled dough will spread less during baking.
6. Mix 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1-1 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. With a spoon, scoop 1 1/2″ balls of dough into the sugar/salt mixture, rolling to coat. Then transfer to baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between balls.
7. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will be golden brown in color. Cool cookies for a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.