Friday, May 17, 2019


A couple of weeks ago many of us MLKers attended the annual mystery conference Malice Domestic, which is devoted to cozies and traditional mysteries. There’s always a book room, with tables selling not only books but entertaining t-shirts and jewelry (I swear most of my earrings come from one vendor). This year there was a new addition: Peschel Press from Hershey, Pennsylvania.

It’s run by a couple, Bill and Teresa Peschel, who founded it in 2010, and they concentrate on “the history behind the mystery” (among a lot of other things!).

In 2018 they published a handsome volume titled A Dictionary of Flowers and Gems: Say What You Mean – Even Say It Mean – The Victorian Way, by Skye Kingsbury. I had to have a copy, and I’m already thinking of plots using messages from the past, made of bouquets of flowers.

They also publish a lot of mystery-oriented books.

To promote the book (and to draw hungry customers to their table!) they put out a tray of cookies, called Butterscotch Crunchies. I immediately asked if I could borrow it for Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, and they said yes, so here it is.

Butterscotch Crunchies a la Peschel Press


Note: this version makes 12 dozen cookies! I cut it in half when I made them.

4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp salt (seems like a lot, but the authors say this is correct)
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature (do not substitute anything else for butter!)
3 cups dark brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp rum or maple extract
3 8-oz. bags of Heath Bits ‘O Brickle Toffee Bits (not the ones with chocolate)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. (Just greasing the cookie sheets will not be enough—these cookies want to stick!)

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.

In a very large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract and optional rum or maple extract until the whole mixture is light and fluffy.

Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition. When well blended, add the toffee bits and stir in.

Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls (the authors note: “the small ones you eat dessert with, not the ones you use to measure salt with”) onto the parchment-covered cookie sheets. 

One teaspoon (a flea-market find!)
The balls should be about one inch in diameter. Leave plenty of space between them, because they spread while baking.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them cool for five minutes (this is important!). Once the cookies are cool enough not to fall apart, transfer them to wire racks to finish cooling.

These will be sticky, even when cool. Store them between layers of waxed paper or they may all stick together.

Check out their website:
Or you could take a trip to Hershey.

Footnote: I took a couple of dozen of these cookies to a committee meeting this week. They were a universal hit--none came back.


  1. These do sound tempting.
    Why not use the toffee that has chocolate, I wonder?

    1. The instructions they were handing out at their booth specifically said not to use the chocolate. I wondered if the whole cookies might end up too hard to transfer from the cookie sheet, at least while they were hot. Might taste good, though!

  2. I visited with them, too, and very much enjoyed the cookies!
    Libby, these are a flat cookie, and I suspect they wouldn't hold the chocolate well in baking, unlike a standard choc chip cookie. But you could try it and report back!

  3. Oooh. Thanks Krista. These may make a trip to my book club.

    1. They're not too sweet and not too hard--a good mix (and you must know by now that I can't resist butter).