Submitted by Caren Roblin (Reno, NV)
The funny thing about this recipe is that it’s not a family recipe at all. It can be found on the back of most bags of butterscotch chips. But for me, every time I bake them, I think of my mom.
My mom, Sara, she was incredibly driven, super intelligent, so independent. She worked a lot to create a better life for us. I remember us being temporarily homeless, but also remember us living in an upscale, gated community. And that was because of her. It was just us against the world. There was nobody else.
When I was 12, she passed away from breast cancer. The year before that, we entered a baking contest, and we baked these cookies. And we won. I won this trophy — a wooden mixing spoon display, it was painted and had ribbons on it. I remember being told that I had to return it the next year so that the next winner could enjoy it. I wasn’t super thrilled about that but was fine enough hanging it on my wall in the meantime to show off to my friends.
Anything I can do to show my appreciation now to the ones I love because I didn’t have that opportunity then, I have to do it.
But it was shortly after that that my mom’s health took a turn. I didn’t realize —she never told me — that she was terminal. And when things took that turn, it happened fast… too fast. After her death, I remember being told by someone that I could keep the trophy — the baking contest wooden spoon trophy, such a small consolation for such a big loss. I remember thinking that even though I was 12, “I don’t want the spoon. I would rather have my mom.”
Years later, I was just feeling really disconnected from her memory. The hard part about losing someone so young is that you just don’t remember them. You don’t remember the sound of their voice, how they looked at you. You don’t remember much. Very little. Bits and pieces.
I started baking these cookies 10 years ago for my friends and coworkers, every holiday season, to get some of that back, to reconnect somehow. I don’t remember a lot about my mom. But she did have a big heart, and anything I can do to show my appreciation now to the ones I love because I didn’t have that opportunity then — I have to do it.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange
- 3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
- 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg) butterscotch chips
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for about 5 minutes or until there is a light brown ring around each cookie. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.