Treat me: Butterscotch bars

Have you ever made Snickerdoodles? Me neither. But not through lack of trying. Yesterday I was all ready: I had the recipe, the ingredients, the time. I couldn’t wait. But neither could the phone call that came as I was measuring the flour at the same time as taking part in a complicated game involving jumping over dolls and jigsaw puzzle pieces.
Unfortunately that meant that something went awry (and I don’t just mean the puzzles). Rather than ending up with a dough soft enough to roll in cinnamon and sugar, I had a crumbly mixture that had disaster written all over it. Undeterred, I pressed it into a tin and baked it anyway – and it turned out remarkably well, if I had been experimenting with shortbread. But since I was supposed to be making something for September’s Random Recipes challenge, there was nothing for it but to turn back to the Doubleday Cookbook  (vol. 2) and flip through the pages again.

Butterscotch Bars
My Doubleday Cookbooks, published in 1975, belonged to my mother. They’re American, but less dated than my ancient copy of The Joy of Cooking (and my struggles with that have been well documented here before). After Snickerdoodlegate I had my doubts about this recipe, but it’s brilliant. It takes less than 10 minutes to whip together from fairly basic ingredients, making it the perfect go-to recipe for when you suddenly remember you need to make something for afternoon tea. The bars are sweet and chewy and very moreish. I’ve de-Americanised the recipe’s measurements and converted them to metrics – hopefully this will help if you find yourself interrupted in the measuring process.

75g butter
175g soft brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g walnuts/pecans, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 180C and line a 20cm square brownie pan with enough baking paper to overhang the sides.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then remove from the heat and add the sugar. Stir well, then leave it for five minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then sift in the dry ingredients. Add the nuts and stir until mixed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the batter is beginning to pull away from the sides. Leave to cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 16.

Have a great weekend everyone x



  1. September 6, 2013 / 10:16 am

    ah, well, yes, um…. they look gorgeous regardless of your disaster (which sounds like an excuse to me… ahem…) I've never made snickerdoodles but I want to now you've described them… oh I just want it all now!

  2. September 6, 2013 / 12:54 pm

    Snickerdoodles are the first thing I learn to bake. Regardless of the disaster, I think these butterscotch bars look brilliant. I could really use a slice or two right now 🙂

  3. September 7, 2013 / 7:42 am

    i've tunred biscuits into slice when i've realised it wouldn't work otherwise! these look like butterscotchy brownies, wonderfully old-fashioned.

  4. September 10, 2013 / 10:58 pm

    That's a deeply satisfying sort of recipe. Less than 10 minutes with basic ingredients is definitely my sort of treat. Lovely. I don't think I've ever had snickerdoodles, but I believe you can get tablets for it these days.

  5. September 11, 2013 / 1:21 pm

    Oh so sorry about the snickerdoodle disaster … no thing like making the best of a bad situation though! You should still go back to a snickerdoodle recipe though … at some point. They are such a 'comfort cookie' in our household … yummy and softly spiced … your blonde brownie looks a treat too!

  6. Jane
    September 25, 2013 / 11:26 am

    I just made these and my house smells divine! They are now out in the garden (under cover) in an attempt to cool them as fast as possible!

  7. September 30, 2013 / 10:35 am

    Will bookmark these – can't resist butterscotch or quick recipes. Have never tried snicker doodles – they don't particularly tempt me – maybe one day someone will persuade me otherwise.

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