Baking with Betty Crocker

Join in celebrating 100 years of Better Crocker with “her” new cookbook and a recipe contest plus cookie-making tips and favorite recipes
Gluten-Free Almond Shortbread Cookies

Photo: Betty Crocker/General Mills

Betty Crocker turned 100 this fall and to celebrate her centennial birthday “she” released a new cookbook, Betty Crocker Best 100 featuring 100 favorite recipes from quick breads and main dishes to cookies and desserts. A few favorite goodies “Betty” shared with me—Double Butterscotch Brownies, gluten-free almond cookies, and a twist on pumpkin bread as grab-and-go cookies—are included below.

Call Me Betty box example

Photo: Betty Crocker/General Mills

Recipe Contest—#CallMeBettyCrocker

There is also a recipe contest to celebrate the milestone. Now through December 31, 2021, culinary enthusiasts, home bakers or those who are newer to the kitchen but have a tried-and-true baking recipe can enter. Submit a recipe at callmebettycrocker.com—it must include at least one eligible Betty Crocker product. Entrants must share the story behind the recipe and how it’s used in celebrations. The #CallMeBettyCrocker recipe and story submissions will be judged on creativity, connection to the contest theme of traditions and celebrations, and visual appeal. In January 2022, winners will be selected and notified. Grand prize winners will receive their own custom Betty Crocker packaging that celebrates the brand’s 100-year legacy and features their recipe, and second place winners will receive a Betty Crocker prize pack.

Betty Crocker’s portraits through the years, with the first (left) in 1936

Photo: General Mills

A Bit About Betty

Betty Crocker is a $1 billion-dollar brand that has left its mark on our local General Mills throughout the last century. Here are some fun facts, courtesy of her “parent” company, General Mills:

  • In 1921, General Mills’ Gold Medal Flour created Betty Crocker as a female personality to answer the many consumer baking inquiries the brand received.
  • During the Great Depression, Betty Crocker created free booklets that included cost-cutting solutions for cooking.
  • By 1945, she was a go-to baking and cooking resource for households across the country, and according to Fortune magazine, the second best-known woman in America, following First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • At the request of the U.S. Office of War Information, Betty Crocker was the personality behind a radio program called “Our Nation’s Rations” to help home bakers make the most of rationed foods during WWII.
  • Betty Crocker created Talking Recipes in 1956 to reach blind bakers who couldn’t read braille—an innovation before braille was mainstream.
  • Following the legalization of same-sex marriage, in 2013 Betty Crocker gifted wedding cakes to the first three same-sex couples married in her home state of Minnesota.
  • Today,Betty Crocker continues to provide baking and cooking guidance to Americans with a dedicated feature on the Betty Crocker website aptly titled, “Ask Betty!” where anyone can submit their baking or cooking questions.

Cookie Making Do’s and Don’ts

Freshly baked cookies are irresistible. With these tips and tricks from Cathy Wheaton, executive editor cookbooks for Betty Crocker, your cookies will turn out delicious every time, no matter your baking level.

Cookie Do’s

  • Have at least 2 cookie sheets so you can be preparing one batch while baking another.
  • Choose shiny cookie sheets for the best cookies. They reflect the heat, bake cookies properly with even browning.
  • Grease pans with cooking spray or vegetable shortening only if the recipe directs to.
  • Measure flour by spooning it into a cup and leveling off.
  • Soften sticks of butter on the counter about 30 minutes before baking, for the perfect texture, or microwave butter stick 1 minute on 20% power.
  • Use cookie scoops for cookies that are all the same size and shape.
  • Bake one cookie sheet at a time, in the center of the oven.
  • Check cookies at the minimum time given, adding a minute or two if the recipe doneness hasn’t been achieved yet.
  • Remove cookies from cookie sheet when directed with flat, thin spatula.
  • Cool cookies on cooling rack.

Cookie Don’ts

  • Don’t overcrowd the oven with more than one cookie sheet or the cookies may not bake evenly.
  • Use butter for greasing the pans—it can burn.
  • Scoop flour with measuring cup—you can easily over or under measure the flour, resulting in cookies that are too rounded and dry or spread too much and are soft.
  • Over-soften butter, resulting in melted spots—it will cause your cookies to be too soft and spread too much.
  • Overbake the cookies as the bottoms will get dark and the cookies will be dry and crumbly.
  • Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for longer than the recipe stats as they will stick to the cookie sheet and be difficult to remove.
  • Cool cookies on a plate—the bottoms will steam, softening the cookie texture.

Now it’s time to get baking for the holidays—or anytime! Nothing beats a cozy, warm kitchen with the smell of delicious cookies wafting through the air.

 

Gluten-Free Almond Shortbread Cookies

Makes 4 dozen cookies | Prep Time: 25 Minutes; Start to Finish: 45 Minutes

It’s not easy to make a gluten-free cookie that’s really good, but Betty Crocker’s high standards means testing continues until both the recipe itself and taste of the cookies are perfectly irresistible!

¾ cup butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups Betty Crocker Gluten Free all-purpose rice flour blend
¼ teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
48 almond slices (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon coarse sugar

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and almond extract with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in rice flour blend and baking powder until well blended (dough will be crumbly). Shape into a ball.
  3. Roll dough on lightly floured surface until ¼ inch thick. Cut with 1¾-inch round cookie cutter, rerolling if necessary. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cookies ½ inch apart. Place 1 almond slice on top of each cookie; sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool cookie sheet before repeating steps 3 and 4 for subsequent batches of cookies. Cool completely.

Variation: Vanilla Shortbread Cookies: Prepare as directed, except substitute 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla for the almond extract and omit sliced almonds.

Cooking Gluten Free? Always read labels to make sure each recipe ingredient is gluten free. Products and ingredient sources can change.

Double Butterscotch Brownies

Photo: Betty Crocker/General Mills

Double Butterscotch Brownies

Makes 16 brownies | Prep Time: 15 Minutes; Start to Finish: 45 Minutes

This is one of the first recipes ever developed for the very-extensive Betty Crocker Kitchens recipe database. They’ve made them even better with butterscotch chips inside and a fantastic butterscotch glaze that doubles the butterscotch flavor.

Butterscotch Brownies
¼ cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup butterscotch chips (from an 11-oz. bag)

Butterscotch Glaze
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup butterscotch chips (from 11-oz. bag)
Chopped pecans, if desired

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.

2. In 1½-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat; remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and egg until well mixed. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until only small lumps remain. Stir in pecans and ½ cup butterscotch chips. Spread in pan.

3. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on cooling rack 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat cream over low heat, just to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in 2/3 cup butterscotch chips until melted. Let stand about 15 minutes or until mixture is desired drizzling consistency.

5. Drizzle over brownies; sprinkle with chopped pecans. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Pumpkin Bread Breakfast Cookies

Photo: Betty Crocker/General Mills

Pumpkin Bread Breakfast Cookies

About 1½ dozen cookies | Prep Time: 30 Minutes; Start to Finish: 55 Minutes

As the weather takes a chill, no one can seem to get enough of the warming flavor of pumpkin. Developed for the new Betty Crocker Cookie Book (2019), this recipe wins for the yummy ingredient combination…but most of all, for giving us permission to eat cookies for breakfast!

¾ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (from a 15-oz can; not pumpkin pie mix)
¼ cup pure maple or maple-flavored syrup
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup raw unsalted hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheets with shortening or cooking spray. Finely chop ½ cup of the walnuts. Set aside the remaining ¼ cup chopped walnuts and the ½ cup finely chopped walnuts separately.

2. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add pumpkin and maple syrup; mix well. Beat in flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well blended. Stir in oats, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and reserved ½ cup finely chopped walnuts; mix well.

3. Onto cookie sheets, drop batter by 1/4-cupfuls 2 inches apart. Spread each cookie with metal spatula into 3-inch round. Sprinkle each cookie with about 1½ teaspoons of the reserved ¼ cup chopped walnuts.

4. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on cookie sheets 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Betty’s Kitchen Tips: Pepitas are actually pumpkin seeds without the hull, found only in specific types of pumpkins. They are available raw, roasted, salted and unsalted. Each type has a slightly different flavor but all can be used for snacking, in salads, soups and main dishes and in cookies, breads and other baked goods.

Make Ahead: Keep these cookies on-hand for breakfast on the run or snacking. Wrap each cookie individually in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw frozen cookies about 15 minutes before serving.

How to Store: Store these cookies in tightly-covered container in refrigerator or loosely covered at room temperature.

Nutrition Information
• Gluten-Free Almond Shortbread Cookies (per 1 cookie): Calories 50  (Calories from Fat 25); Total Fat 3g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 50mg; Total Carbohydrate 6g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 1g); Protein 0g
• Double Butterscotch Brownies (per 1 brownie): Calories 220 (Calories from Fat 100); Total Fat 11g (Saturated Fat 6g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 150mg; Total Carbohydrate 29g  (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 22g); Protein 2g

Pumpkin Bread Breakfast Cookies (per 1 Cookie):Calories 340 (Calories from Fat 140); Total Fat 16g  (Saturated Fat 7g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 220mg; Total Carbohydrate 45g  (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 27g); Protein 4g

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.