Designated – {Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies}

With a cooling rack full of cookies behind me, it’s no surprise that I’m on high-alert. Elbow-deep in the sink, my ears are working as hard as my hands, scouring the room for sounds as I scrub the grease off a baking sheet. I mentally check and recheck the locations of every living thing in the house, acutely aware of my surroundings and entranced with the thought of protecting the cookies.

J and C, my step-dad and younger brother, are the two people I’ve got to worry about the most. I know, for now, that they’re focused on the living room TV, anxiously leaning forward in their seats with PS3 controllers fixed between their fingers. Their game-based dialogue is like a foreign language, becoming increasingly convoluted and muffled as it travels the length of the hall to infiltrate my solitude. Their energetic exchange leads me to believe that they’re too far into their storyline for a cookie break, but one can never be sure.

Sudden footsteps send a chill up my spine, but after recognizing the accompanying clack clack on the floor as a result of my dog’s nails, I’m calmed.

Mom, I know, is in the living room with J and C. However, although she is quite unlikely to ask for a sample, she’s definitely the most likely to come into the kitchen. Probably with an empty coffee cup, I imagine, checking the level in the carafe during a routine glance around the room. But it’s empty, which means she’s probably not drinking any this morning and that I’m probably pretty safe.

So, I’ve located my mom, my step-dad, my younger brother and my dog. At this point the dishes are clean, the cookies are cool, and I am all prepped to photograph.

But then, timidly and from around the corner, C’s voice is barely audible:

“Sissy…? Can I have a cookie?”

I’ve got to tell you: I really hate to tell them no. I love that my family and friends are so anxious to try the things I make that they don’t want to/can’t wait for me to photograph them. But I’m so wary of letting them blindly pick and wandering off with the one – the most photogenic baked good of them all – in hand that I can’t just say, “yes! Go right ahead.”

So they’re afraid of me, which explains C’s timidness. It comes as no surprise, really. In all honesty, more than a few overreactions on my part have warranted them the right to be fairly frightened. I hate that it’s true, but you know what? It’s ok. Especially since I’ve got a system now, devised in my very early days of food photography.

“Yes,” I tell him, drawing two plates from the kitchen cabinet and placing them on the counter in front of him. “Just give me a second.”

Transferring each cookie to a designated plate, I quickly sort through the ones I would like to photograph (the beauties) and the ones I don’t want to (the rejects). It’s a brief process, but it’s an important one that, today, ends with me selecting the cream of the crop from the plate with the highest yield:

“Here you go, C. The most horrendous cookie of them all. THE reject. For you.”

He’s happy. I’m happy. The camera comes out and the cookies are saved.

Until the next time, that is…

Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies via P
Make sure you make these cookies kind of large so you get a range of textures when they’re baked! Feel free to use any flavor of pudding mix that you like/have on hand. These cookies are very adaptable and easily customizable. This will make about 33 cookies which, if they last, will taste even better on the second day.
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 c (213 g) flour
1 c (142g) whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c (149 g) sugar
1 1/4 c (177 g) brown sugar
2 eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp nutmeg
1 c (208 g) butter flavored shortening
1 (1 1/2oz or 42 g) pkg butterscotch-flavored instant pudding mix
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 c (355 ml) instant oats (corn flakes or puffed rice cereal are also good!)
1 1/2 – 2 c (355 ml – 473 ml) chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sugars using a fork to break up any lumps in the brown sugar. Set aside.

In yet another small bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla, milk and nutmeg, on high until light and fluffy.

In a final, large bowl, beat the shortening until it’s fluffy. Add half of the sugar and beat until incorporated, then add the second half. Beat on high until grainy (there’s too much sugar for this to get fluffy like you might expect it to), about 3 minutes. Add in the pudding mix and beat until combined.

Pour in half of the egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Repeat with the second half, being sure to scrape the bowl. Drizzle in the honey and beat until fluffy.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and repeat, adding the rest of the dry ingredients in two portions. Gently fold in the oats and chocolate chips.

Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Portion dough into approximately 1/4 c balls (or use a 1 3/4 oz disher) and place on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Transfer sheets to cooling racks and allow cookies to cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.


  1. says

    These look great! Love the story, too – completely relatable for any food blogger, I'm sure. Do you know how one could go about replacing the pudding mix with real butterscotch pudding? Just curious. :)

  2. says

    I totally relate to this story! My household is always eager for samples, too, and I always have a few uglies to part with immediately. <br /><br />These sound great! I&#39;m intrigued by the combination of nutmeg and butterscotch

  3. says

    I&#39;m glad that you can relate! <br /><br /><b>@Zoe</b>: unfortunately, I don&#39;t think subbing actual pudding would work. I think the starches in the mix add to the texture of the cookie because they are &quot;activated&quot; by the liquids in the recipe. If you add more liquid (in the form of pudding), I think the cookies might be too wet to bake. Experimenting with that could be fun,

  4. says

    That&#39;s a great idea! I usually try not to photograph when my family is at home coz it becomes stressful when they stand around and wait. I think I&#39;ll try that!

  5. says

    Haha, this is great. My husband laughs at me all the time because I have to get my pictures before he can eat anything. Last night I made cupcakes for a Superbowl party, and I didn&#39;t have time to photograph them before we left, so I brought my camera and did it at the party. A few people looked at me funny, but hubby rolled his eyes and explained that I was not, actually, crazy. :o)<br />

  6. says

    Fantastic – I know just what you mean about needing to know where all possible munchers are in the house when the cookies come out of the oven – i once turned my back to find an Airedale terrier stood on the table scoffing a fresh batch of brownies! The photos are really good x

  7. says

    These look SO great. They really look like my mom&#39;s chocolate chip cookies, which she still makes in the food processor, even though she uses a different recipe. I can just tell that these are high quality.

  8. says

    Thanks so much! <br /><br /><b>Diana</b>: I would have done the same thing! <br /><br /><b>Tommy</b>: Cookies in a food processor? That sounds like a cool technique!<br /><br /><b>Anonymous</b>: You can definitely use butter, but I like the texture that the shortening lends to the cookies – it makes them chewier.

  9. says

    hello!<br />i just found your blog by chance and i&#39;m overwhelmed. so many delicious recipes! i posted your blog on my one – i hope that&#39;s okay.<br />greetings from germany<br />Stefi

  10. says

    Do you think banana pudding mix would work as well? Maybe with some walnuts?<br /><br />Love the idea of the cookies and will be trying them out as soon as I can get my father to leave the kitchen and stop stealing cookie dough.

  11. says

    <b>@Stefi</b>: I am so glad you like it! Thanks for mentioning me :)<br /><br /><b>@The Peanut</b>: That sounds amazing! Let me know how it turns out – I hope they&#39;re REALLY banana-y for you!

  12. says

    Cindy, instant oats are the slightly more processed version of old-fashioned oats. They&#39;re less chewy in the final cookie because they soak up more liquid from the batter more quickly. You can find them in the same section as other oats at the grocery store :)

  13. says

    Thank you, everyone!<br /><br /><b>The Peanut</b>: That sounds SO good! I can&#39;t wait to try that myself!<br /><br /><b>@Livininthekitchen</b>: These make great peanut butter cookies – substitute half the shortening with peanut butter, then add in an extra 1/4 cup of PB. YUM! <br /><br /><b>Anonymous</b>: You can use normal AP – whole wheat is just a preference!

  14. says

    I made these last weekend! I used butter and I didn&#39;t have nutmeg so I used pumpkin pie spice. I followed the directions really carefully and they came out FANTASTIC! You are so right about them getting better the next day. I ate way too many of them… They were for my friend&#39;s birthday party and they were a big hit! I&#39;ve always wanted to try a recipe from your blog and I&#39;m

  15. says

    <b>@Kate</b>: Thank you so much!<br /><br /><b>@Megan</b>: I&#39;m so glad that you liked them! I always eat more than I should of these when I make them. They&#39;re hard to resist! Also, you are too kind. Thank you! I am mega impressed by your art. The dolls you have on your front page are super cute, and your drawings are awesome!

  16. Kelly says

    Is there a way to make the cookies using butterscotch baking chips? like melting them? if not, can I substitute the chocolate chips for butterscotch chips? I do not have the pudding mix.

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