The vintage inspiration for Vintage Butter Brickle Cookies is a passed down family favorite that comes from my 1976 Better Homes & Garden New Cook Book. This is a classic retro cookie with a rich, buttery, brown sugar base loaded with Bits O’ Brickle and toasted pecans. These cookies are crisp on the outside with a nice, chewy center.
I did some research to find out how Bits O’ Brickle came about. In the 1920’s the Fenn Bros. Ice Cream & Candy Co. made the small pieces of toffee candy used in their Butter Brickle ice cream. Fenn’s was sold to Hershey’s, who now sell it as Heath Bits O’ Brickle and offer two varieties, with or without milk chocolate.
Vintage Inspiration: A 1976 recipe from “Better Homes & Garden New Cook Book“
I’ve taken this 1970’s recipe and baked it modern:
- I toasted the pecans before adding to the batter
- Used all butter instead of 1/2 shortening
- Used a combination of bread and unbleached flours
- Added salt to accommodate our modern palettes
Baker’s tips for Vintage Butter Brickle Cookies:
Use a blend of flours for perfect texture:
Use a combination of both all-purpose and bread flour in your cookies. All-purpose flour contains between 10-12% protein. Bread flour contains 11-14% protein and when you combine them together, it yields cookies that are crisp on the edges yet remain chewy on the inside.
For more flavor, toast the nuts first:
To incorporate more flavor, toast the pecans in the oven at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Then for a fast, easy way to chop the nuts use a Cuisinart Mini-Food Chopper.
How to control thickness:
To ensure thicker cookies, chill scooped cookie dough for 5-10 minutes before baking. This will ensure less spread (i.e butter bleed). However, if you like your cookies thin and crispy, omit the baking powder and just scoop cookie dough after you made it and put directly into the oven.
Use homemade vanilla to enhance the flavor:
Always use good quality all-natural, pure vanilla extract. If you purchase vanilla, be sure it only contains vanilla beans and alcohol. I make my own vanilla, which is super simple: Take 8 oz. of bourbon and add 5-7 vanilla beans that are spilt down the middle and let it sit for 3-6 months. As you use it replace the bourbon and add more beans. Store in dark, cool place and it can last many years. I prefer to use bourbon, but you can also use vodka.
Use aluminum baking sheets:
Always use a light-colored, aluminum cookie sheet. I use Nordic Ware aluminum, 18×13 half-sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Aluminum is best for distributing and reflecting even heat during the baking process. Dark cookie sheets conduct more heat across the surface, which could cause your baked goods to burn or darken on the edges before they are fully cooked.
For more of my cookie recipes try: Oatmeal White Chip Cookies OR Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toffee & Pecans
Classic Toffee Pecan Cookies
- 1 c. unsalted butter room temp
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 2/3 c. unbleached flour
- 1 c. bread flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/3 c. toffee bits 8oz. bag
- 2/3 c. pecans toasted & finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together dry ingredients.
- Toast pecans in oven at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Set aside.
- Mix together butter, sugar, and brown sugar and mix for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until just incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients to batter.
- Add toffee bits and pecans and mix until just incorporated.
- Use a medium cookie scoop and drop dough on baking sheets. Chill for 5-10 minutes.
- Bake for 13-14 minutes.
- Let cookies cool and store in a container.