- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2006

When my daughters need to select just one cookie recipe from my books, something they will tote to school for a party or make for friends, they choose butterscotch cashew scotchies.

Not only are these flavors the perfect combination, but the recipe itself is foolproof. It works every time. Bake these a day ahead of your Memorial Day picnic or cookout. Bake them a week ahead and just freeze them. They are delicious no matter when they are baked.

Our typical pre-summer meal would include fried chicken and potato salad, but feel free to compose a menu suitable to your geographic region and personal taste.

If you’ve got fresh salmon, grill it. If you love sausages and the fixings, grill them and make a German potato salad. Slice fresh tomatoes or fruit, whatever is on hand. These butterscotch cashew scotchies go with most any menu selection you make.

Five time-shaving picnic ideas you can buy at the supermarket

• Fried chicken pieces or strips. Doctor up store-bought potato salad with fresh parsley and chives.

• Smoked salmon, French bread, and an herb and garlic cream cheese spread.

• Marinated mozzarella balls, olives, grilled vegetables and pizza dough. Bake the pizza dough ahead of time, brushing it with olive oil and minced garlic before baking. Tote to the picnic or barbecue and slice to serve with the mozzarella, grilled veggies and olives.

• Steamed shrimp, salsa, guacamole and chips.

• Chopped cooked pork barbecue, buns and coleslaw. Bring the fixings and let everyone make their sandwich on-site.

Butterscotch cashew scotchies

The preparation time is 10 minutes, and the baking time is 27 to 29 minutes.

1 18.25-ounce package plain yellow cake mix

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped lightly salted cashews

1 cup butterscotch chips

Set aside an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Place cake mix, brown sugar, melted butter, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend again on low speed for 1 minute.

Transfer batter to pan, smooth it out with the rubber spatula so that it reaches all sides. Sprinkle cashew pieces and butterscotch chips over batter. Place pan on center rack of preheated 350-degree oven.

Bake cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 29 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Cut cake into 24 bars. Remove bars from pan with a metal spatula and serve. Makes 24 bars.

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