There’s gold in them thar bars! Butterscotch Chocolate Brownies.


It takes a village to create a recipe. Or, at least the inspiration for one.

King Arthur Flour has recently relaunched its community site, The Baking Circle. This long-time virtual gathering place has attracted bakers from all over the world, and generated discussions ranging from things to do with zucchini to recipes for THE BEST sandwich buns (a discussion never resolved – though we’ve had fun trying!)

Looking for inspiration from the community, I decided to check out the recipe section – see what people were posting.

When you click into the recipes section and scroll to the bottom, you’ll find what’s called a “tag cloud” – a group of words that people used to categorize their recipes, as they posted them. The larger the word, the more people have used it to describe their recipe.

Early on, this is what the community site’s tag cloud looked like. Brownies. Chocolate. Blondies. Bars.


It didn’t take me long to remember a recipe I’d worked on about 10 years ago: Butterscotch Chocolate Brownies.

Wait a minute – brownies are chocolate. Blondies are vanilla. And never the twain shall meet.

Until now.

These brownies aren’t deep-dark chocolate; with just half a cup of melted chocolate chips in the batter, and nearly a pound of brown sugar, the predominant flavor comes from the caramel-y brown sugar. And the butterscotch chips. Add toasted pecans, and you’ve got a butter-pecan bar that’s still chocolate-y enough to be called a brownie. It’s more of a milk chocolate experience, but that’s exactly the degree of chocolate you want here, so that the vanilla and butterscotch flavors can shine through.

The small tag cloud pictured above was just the beginning. Since its “soft launch” July 31, the community has grown to include hundreds of recipes and discussions, with more being added every day.

Not only that – the recipe tag cloud has grown as well.

As you can see, brownies and bars are holding their own in the “most talked about” category. So let’s join the crowd, and bake up a batch of Butterscotch Chocolate Brownies.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a 9″ x 13″ pan.

First, the salted pecans. Put 2/3 cup pecan halves (coarsely chopped, if they’re very large) in a bowl. Melt 2 teaspoons butter with a heaping 1/8 teaspoon salt; pour over the pecans, tossing to coat.

Bake the nuts in the preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 9 minutes, till they’re a rich, golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and turn them out of the pan to cool  slightly while you make the brownie batter.

In a microwave-proof bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt together 1/2 cup butter and ½ cup chocolate chips, stirring to melt the chips.

Stir till smooth, and set aside.

Here’s another of my favorite ingredients: butter-rum flavor, perfect in these brownies. Butterscotch would be fine, too; as would vanilla-butternut. These are extra-strong flavors, so you don’t need to use a whole lot; usually 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon is plenty to deliver a nice hit of flavor.

Put the following in a bowl:

1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt*
1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar, dark or light
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla; OR 6 drops butter-rum or butterscotch flavor, preferred for best flavor

*If you use salted butter, reduce the salt to ¼ teaspoon.

Add the chocolate/butter mixture.

Beat to combine.

Add 2 large eggs, beating till smooth.

Add 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, stirring till smooth.

Add the pecans, and 2/3 cup butterscotch chips.

Stir till just combined. You want to work quickly; stirring the still-warm batter too long will melt the chips.

Scoop the stiff batter into the pan. Use a spatula (or your wet fingers) to spread it to the edges of the pan, and level it as best you can.

Bake the bars for 22 to 25 minutes; the edges will just barely be pulling away from the edges of the pan, and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.

Immediately loosen the brownies from the pan all around the edge…

…and gently press down the edges; this will help prevent tall edges and a sunken center.

See how light this chocolate is? Definitely not a deep-dark fudge brownie. These have their own persona.

Cool, and cut into squares.

Butterscotch chips, salty pecans, chocolate… oh yeah.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Butterscotch Chocolate Brownies.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. SMJ

    OH MY!!! I happen to have all the ingredients for this at home. They look amazing and I bet they taste amazing too. I am going to make these soon.

    I am a part time fitness instructor (zumba). If it was not for all the exercise that I do I would not be able to indulge in all the fancy treats you guys tempt me with without a major amount of guilt on the side.

    Glad we can help! You keep exercising and we’ll keep sharing the recipes! Elisabeth @ KAF

  2. Wei-Wei

    Look at that intersection shot. Just LOOK AT THAT! Butterscotch is an amazing flavour that I haven’t had very much, and I bet that this would work with PB chips as well. Awesome.

  3. milkwithknives

    Argh! Noooo! I’m a box mix brownie gal, through and through. I have never had any desire to even try to make brownies from scratch (which is saying something, because I like to try EVERYTHING from scratch), but this is TEMPTING ME AWAY FROM MY BOXED MIX. One question before I give in: are these fudgy (yay!) or cakey (boo!) brownies? I guess that’s always the big question with brownies, right?

    These are dense and moist. Definitely not cakey, but not quite fudge. Give them a try. Frank @ KAF.

  4. daphpang

    Are the Buttersctoch Chips back???!!! If not, what’s the best brand you recommend? Nestle’s are out – they taste terrible.
    I am sorry we do not have butterscotch chips maybe you can do a web search for some. JMD@KAF

    Guittard butterscotch chips are what we use in the test kitchen, and I think we may be bringing them back for the holidays… PJH

  5. Margy

    If no butterscotch chips available, how about peanut butter chips. Flavor will be different, of course, but what’s a girl to to do when she’s got her brownie jones on?

    I say use those PB chips! I am all for PB & brownies! kelsey@KAF

  6. puamoonfire

    Interesting question about the butterscotch chips. The Baking Sheet has some yummy sounding fall recipes that call for butterscotch chips, too. But I agree that the store-bought chips taste awful – so fake and artificial – so I won’t be making them, either. Is there a market for “real” tasting butterscotch chips?

    Guittard makes good butterscotch chips… you might be able to find them in your supermarket. PJH

  7. HMB

    I wanted to print out the recipe, but it looks like you guys are messing with the site again — all I got was the KAF logo, a picture of the recipe, the radio buttons, links to three of the ingredients in your catalog. No text with ingredients or directions. This is getting beyond frustrating! Every time I visit KAF now I have some kind of trouble.

    I just clicked through the Printable View on the recipe page:

    I was not able to replicate your dilemma. To figure out why this is occurring, I’ll contact you directly. Frank @ KAF.

  8. Margy

    I agree, Nestles butterscotch chips taste artificial. I googled butterscotch chips–believe it or not, there is actually a recipe on e-how to make your own with homemade butterscotch sauce and white chocolate. Kind of tedious to drip out all those little chips, but if it floats your boat…

  9. twistedstring

    Those look so yummy! Now I am craving brownies!

    I just wish butterscotch chips were not full of milk ingredients.
    I imagine those are key to getting the right flavor in combination with the flavoring extract. This one has me absolutely stumped for a work around aside from adding more extract.

  10. Irene in TO

    You folks at King Arthur Flour must get a commission for every time you use those fancy mixers in a blog, eh?

    Maybe you could do a recipe every now and then for those of us who live in apartments with shoebox kitchens, where there is a single short piece of counter?

    For example–this recipe. Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium mixing bowl, then the rest of the ingredients can be added to it and mixed by hand with a good sized spatula.

    I use Skor chips instead of butterscotch chips–taste LOTS better in baked goods. Much less grease but still some dairy (sorry).

    For those with dairy allergies, the only way to make butterscotch is if you can tolerate the clarified butterfat that has no lactose or milk proteins. Then you can use a standard candymaker’s recipe for butterscotch where water helps the sugar to brown but not burn. At the end you dump the batch onto a large cookie sheet. When it’s cold you bash it up and store it in glass jars.

    No commissions, Irene. Hopefully people can figure out how to adapt a recipe to the equipment they have; with the volume of baking we do in the test kitchen, we have and use stand mixers pretty exclusively. Thanks for your substitution suggestions – much appreciated! PJH

  11. Irene in TO

    One more–the extracts are extraordinary, you really have to measure them in drops.

    Your online store does sell the droppers that fit the LorAnn bottles perfectly–I did up all my flavours with them and it makes baking MUCH easier. No cleaning out teaspoons–you just use the conversion of 24 drops per teaspoon.

  12. bonniewhite

    I made these as directed with butterscotch flavoring. I have butter rum, but butterscotch is my favorite. I wondered about the salted pecans, but…..stroke of genius! That little bit of salt just heightens the flavors, not to mention the espresso powder.

    These are indeed fudgy, but not falling-apart so. Very moist and dense, as I think another poster mentioned prior. An all-around great recipe.

    Here in Texas, our high temps are only in the mid-80s this week, so I had to make something fall-ish to celebrate!

  13. hddonna

    PJ, these are fantastic! The dense, chewy texture is my absolute favorite for a bar cookie. I had to make a couple of slight changes. I didn’t have butter rum flavor, but I did have plain rum flavor, so used a quarter teaspoon of that and a quarter teaspoon of vanilla. Also, I substituted some caramel bits I had on hand for the butterscotch chips. I’m afraid I don’t care for even the Guittard butterscotch chips. But these brownies are so marvelous they would be good with any type of chips or none at all–there’s plenty of butterscotch flavor because of all the brown sugar. And the salted pecans just bring the whole thing over the top! This is going into my permanent recipe file for sure.

  14. kimberjs

    Made these today, YUM! It’s nice to make something a little different. I’ll take these out to the field (we’re farmers) & I know they’ll be a hit with the crew.
    Thanks KAF

    What are you harvesting these days? Wheat? Congratulations and thank you – farmers feed the world! :) PJH

  15. cmlyle

    Made these last week for a snack to take on a long car trip – my husband LOVED them! I thought they were more chocolaty than butterscotchy, but still loved them!!

  16. jamieleigh2

    Unfortunately, I could not find butterscotch flavoring (and just HAD to make these brownies tonight) so my batch did not have much of a butterscotch flavor to them. I’ve also never cooked with espresso powder before so maybe I messed something up, because my brownies tasted VERY mocha-y! The flavor was still wonderful, just not what I was expecting. I also used dark chocolate chips, which added a delicious chocolate flavor. Baked the batter in a light metal 9″ x 13″ pan but contemplated using pyrex. I think next time I would try a 9″ x 9″ pan to make thicker brownies (they were indeed a great texture, not too cake-like) and also almost double the amount of butterscotch chips (if you’re not using the flavoring. I used 3/4c this time but without the flavoring, more are definitely needed). I wonder too, if you almost made a crust for the brownies with the toasted pecans, if that would work out well? :)

    Sounds like a lot of fun planned to the next go. Give the nut crust version a try! Sounds yummy. Frank @ KAF.


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