I refuse to compromise my cookies

How can a simple cookie recipe be my downfall?  When did cookies get so complicated? How much butter is “too much?”

It started with an old family recipe for bar cookies.  I stumbled across the recipe card not long ago and it triggered fond memories from my childhood.

So I got all the ingredients together, assembled my food photography studio (more on that… later) and started to work.

no compromise cookies recipeWhat’s in a name?

My mom always called these “English Toffee Cookies.”  I have no idea why.  Every other recipe with that name involves a thick layer of chocolate goodness over a thin cookie crust.  The toffee part is normally created separately using lots of butter and sugar.

I always thought of them as “Compromise Cookies.”

I was a picky child and would get VERY upset at the idea of someone ruining good chocolate cookies by adding nuts or weird stuff like butterscotch.  My brother SWORE he liked butterscotch chips better than chocolate ones.  My dad liked nuts.  My mom figured out how to make one batch of cookies to satisfy all of us without making anyone compromise on what we wanted.

She was clever that way.

One of the hard parts about blogging is coming up with a title that sells.  I knew if I just titled the cookie recipe as “English Toffee Cookie Recipe” then it would be… boring.  I tentatively titled the cookies as “compromise cookies” and got to work.

What in a cookie?

My mom’s recipe clearly calls for margarine.  She even uses the full old-fashioned name “oleo margarine” in the ingredients.  In the instructions she refers to it as “oleo.”  It’s just one of those things that makes me smile.


I don’t cook with margarine.

The idea of actually EATING margarine does not make me smile.

I’m not here to judge your food choices, you can make those for yourself.  But in the great butter versus margarine debate, we picked butter.

I decided not to compromise.

I decided to bake my mom’s recipe with butter instead of margarine.

looks wholesome enough

Oh.  That’s where the name came from.

When I started measuring out the ingredients, I realized that the recipe calls for TWO sticks of butter and a cup of brown sugar.

butter + brown sugar = toffee

That’s not a precise recipe, but even without Googling it, I know those are the primary ingredients.

Let me break it down for my non baking friends.

This recipe has TWICE the normal amount of butter.

Let the baking commence!

I decided to leave the recipe alone other than to swap butter for margarine.

I photographed my heart out.

I eagerly sampled the results.

Um… how can I explain this… after a few bites I felt myself going into sugar shock.  My mouth had that greasy feel you get from eating too many potato chips.  My lips were lightly glossed.


way too much butter

I refuse to compromise on health.  I refuse to compromise on flavor either!   And I’m not a big fan of cookies that double as lip balm.

I decided dink around and try again.   (I”m pretty certain that “dink” is a technical cooking term.)

I made every substitution you can name.  I reduced the fat and sugar, I added alternate grains and nut flours, I used some creative substations.  They were all changes I’ve made to other recipes, so I was fairly confident that it would work.

And the results are?

I think I took it too far.

I made crackers.

Crackers aren’t cookies.

(On the plus side, it’s the first time I’ve actually had crackers that didn’t turn out soggy.)

These will be NO compromise cookies.

At this point, these REALLY are No Compromise Cookies.  I just refuse to compromise on flavor or ingredient quality.  I won’t do it for my family and I certainly won’t do it on my blog.

So instead of a recipe you get a story.

After some extensive research (including today’s post from Mothering From Scratch), I figured out what the problem is.  I’m baking a third batch today.

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Hope your cookies turn out well…what is that cliche? Third time’s a charm? I’m in the middle of baking chocolate chip cookies right now for an exchange that is an hour and half (I need 6 dozen so can you hear the panic in my typing?). Suffice it to say last night was really not the ideal night to try a new cookie recipe. So thankful that I can pretty much make chocolate chip cookies in my sleep. I’ll be watching for your recipe 🙂
    Jean recently posted..Dashing In December Menu PlanMy Profile

  2. Cookies cannot be comprised for health. Period. I am 100% with you on this Susan. And those cookies sound delicious! :)-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted..Dear Santa, Please Make My Children Smile On Command Just Once!My Profile

  3. Maybe you could call these the Three Bears Bars. You know, the first Papa bear batch was too sweet, the second Mama bear batch too crispy and the third baby bear batch will be perfect!
    Mo recently posted..Holiday Music – The Classic, Wacky And Just Plain BadMy Profile

  4. Cookies cannot be made healthy, that’s not what they’re there for! Cookies are there to be great tasting, unhealthy desserts.
    Spencer recently posted..Fat Burning FoodsMy Profile

  5. Hi Susan,
    That is quite a funny story. Usually in my family, we tend to use recipes that call for butter / margarine, but when we come across one that needs margarine specifically, we will usually go to the store and buy some, just because we don’t like to try recipes over and over again (don’t like wasting ingredients). Anyways, thanks for sharing this story,
    Andrew recently posted..Scalp Conditions: How To Manage ThemMy Profile

    • Oh… we didn’t waste ingredients. I tend to plan experimental baking. It took less than 3 days for all the baking to be consumed by friends and family. I had to bake stuff for an event anyway, so why not share the experiments. I also am a whiz at halving recipes when I’m seriously in doubt.

  6. Hi,
    English Toffee Cookies- the name looks very different. But it sounds good I wish to try this in my home too 🙂 thanks for sharing this useful and Yummy article here
    Jacob recently posted..Sunbeam Coffee Makers an Exclusive OverviewMy Profile

  7. We have healthy foods that are, well, healthy. Cookies are meant to be yummy, and ne’er should the two meet. 🙂

    My family ran a large, family-friendly b&b, and we did homemade cookies every afternoon. The guests gobbled them up, because they were made with great ingredients, including real butter and sugar, and lots of love and joy. 🙂
    Kim recently posted..Spending less at Christmas yields more joyMy Profile

  8. I absolutely love that story! My mouth is watering for some lip balm and a greasy mouth though. You had me at toffee.
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted..Here’s the Season…My Profile

  9. These rants are of my struggle in home recording land to ease closer and closer.Home Recording Studio

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