James Beard Award-winning Cookbook Author

Just the Recipe: Peanut Butterscotch Chews

To see the recipe and the history, click here.


For this recipe, Greg uses King Arthur flour. You can order King Arthur flour and flavorings through Greg’s King Arthur Affiliate site, which helps pay the costs of this website!

Peanut Butterscotch Chews

The batter is made quickly in a saucepan. Be sure not to overbake. The cookies must be moist and chewy. The cookies are very moist, not too sweet, and–let me warn you–it’s hard to stop eating them.
Course Dessert, Light Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 16 Cookies


  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour stir flour, dip in dry measure to overflowing and sweep off excess; 5 ounces by weight
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts (2 ½ ounces), chopped medium-fine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 stick; 2 ounces
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (7 ounces), light or dark
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Adjust an oven rack to the center position, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
  • Sift the flour with the cinnamon, soda, and salt 3 times; set aside.
  • Measure the peanuts and then chop with a large chef’s knife until medium fine; set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Add the brown sugar and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 1 minute, until the sugar smells toasty. The sugar and butter will be thick and pasty looking.
  • Add the heavy cream and raise the heat to medium.
  • Stir occasionally as the mixture comes to the boil. As soon as the boil is reached (the surface is covered with thick bubbles), boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring once or twice.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and cool the butterscotch until it feels warm, about 10 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg with the wooden spoon until smooth, then beat in the vanilla.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients only until incorporated, then stir in the peanuts.
  • Spread the batter evenly in the pan.
  • Bake about 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few wet crumbs sticking to it. Do not overbake. These cookies should be very moist.
  • Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. The sides of the baked “cake” will be higher than the center. 
  • In about 5 minutes, tamp down the sides of the “cake” with your fingertips to level it with the center.
  • Cool completely and cut into squares.
  • Store airtight.  These keep well for a few days at room temperature.

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