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Cooking Through Fiction — Simon's Butterscotch Toffee Skillet Cookie

When I was a kid, I would describe myself as having been mischievous (which I used to pronounce miss-chee-vee-us; is this because I am southern or are others led astray by the pronunciation?). And being mischievous led me to make a few—okay, a lot of righteously stupid decisions.

A few of my less-than-stellar ideas: Eating Play-Doh. Because Play-Doh has a peculiar, yet tantalizing smell, it had to taste good. It doesn’t. Eating soap. If bath soap smells so good (again with the smells), surely it tastes good, too. It doesn’t. Finger stapling. If you put your finger beneath a stapler and press it, it will—I repeat, it will—staple through your index finger. And it hurts like the dickens.

Most of these moronic decisions come down to the simple fact that someone told me not to do it, and I did it anyway. Lesson learned. How was I to know I wasn’t the smartest kid in the world when I was 8?

When I read about the Grace children in The Spiderwick Chronicles, I feel less alone because they are three children who, despite being told to get rid of The Field Guide, simply don’t listen. They say, “To the devil with that! We don’t care if an army of goblins tries to eat us or if a troll tries to kill us, we aren’t giving up this book!” Good thing because both of those events happen.

Thankfully, all three survive the goblin attack, avoid being eaten by a hungry troll, and manage to rescue a wounded griffin without losing limbs…for now.

Since I’m cooking my way through fiction, and I have no desire to cook what goblins eat (roasted cat meat) and the children are too busy in this installment to pause for dinner, I had to take inspiration from wherever I could find it:

“But they still had the book and the eyepiece, and Simon was carrying a kitten the color of butterscotch toffee, and all of them were still alive. From where Jared stood, those things counted as huge successes.” (Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles #2) [New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003], 103-104)

Simon’s Butterscotch Toffee Skillet Cookie

Serves: 10-12

Difficulty Level: Easy


1 c (2 sticks) unsalted real butter

1 c firmly packed brown sugar

¾ c granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c butterscotch chips

1 c chocolate chips

1 c toffee bits (or crushed Heath bars)

How to Make

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. In a large (10") cast iron skillet, melt the butter. (Note: You need a large skillet. Otherwise, you’ll have more molten-lava-sugar-mixture-plus-cookie-pieces on your stove than you will in the pan.)

  3. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar, and stir until dissolved.

  4. Allow this to cool down until it is just warm. (Note: If you don’t allow the mixture to cool down, your eggs will cook when you add them to the pan. This result is icky. Trust me.)

  5. Add 2 beaten eggs.

  6. Stir in 2 tsp vanilla.

  7. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt with a whisk.

  8. Stir the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. The batter will become thick.

  9. Stir in the butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and toffee bits. (Note: I’m pretty sure this action is a muscle-building exercise for your triceps.)

  10. Press the batter down into the skillet.

  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until desire doneness.

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