Brown Sugar Shortbread

Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread for your Christmas cookie platters! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

We made it to the end of the week.

Our counters are splattered with chocolate. Royal icing is glued to our aprons. A thick cloud of flour hangs over our kitchen — which can only be compared to a dirty dish war zone. Sugar is our middle name and we’ve cleared our grocery’s supply of butter. Holiday cookie bakers, we are. Best gang of peeps around.

Welcome to day 5 of the 5th annual Sally’s Cookie Palooza!

Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread for your Christmas cookie platters! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

We’re closing out week 1 of the palooza today, so I want to end on an extra delish note to get you excited for cookie baking adventures this weekend. Because, um, you’re baking cookies this weekend, right? Don’t fight the sugahhh.

Speaking of sugar! I teamed up with Domino® Sugar to bring you this new Christmas cookie recipe today. Domino® Sugar is sold where I live, but if it’s not sold near you, look for their sister brand, C&H® Sugar. It’s been my choice for years and that’s not because they are a hop, skip, and jump away– but because it’s pure quality. You can taste the difference in your baking when you use an exceptional sugar. Today, we’re baking with Domino® Brown Sugars..

Brown sugar is my favorite ingredient in the kitchen and hopefully I’ve convinced you by now why. It’s THE BEST. Brown sugar leaves its alluring moisture wherever it goes, not to mention the home-sweet-home aroma and flavor of sweet molasses. Reminds you of grandma’s baking, doesn’t it? Grandma knows best.

Soft and simple, brown sugar is a best friend to some of life’s greatest treasures: cinnamon, BACON, maple, pumpkin, baked beans (omg how can you not love baked beans), caramel, oatmeal, peaches, and did I mention bacon? The list goes on. Respect, brown sugar, respect.

Domino brown sugar on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s see how they’re made:

Don’t Let its Simplicity Fool Ya

My favorite traditional shortbread recipe is in Sally’s Cookie Addiction. Who’s tried it?! I took that recipe as my starting point and worked to create a suuuuper buttery brown sugar version. Crisp on the edges and tender in the center, this is a simple brown sugar shortbread. But don’t let its humble look fool you. Even though it’s quite modest without the addition of chocolate chips, caramel drizzles, nuts, fudge explosions, candy pieces, etc… it stands up to even the most decadent cookie.

You only need a few staples to make brown sugar shortbread. That’s the thing about shortbread– it’s awesomely simple using only a handful of basic ingredients. No eggs or leavening agents, just butter + sugar + flour. We’ll also use a little salt to balance out some sweetness and vanilla for an added flavor kick. But the most important part of all? That glorious brown sugar. We’ll be using both Domino® Light Brown and Dark Brown Sugars in this recipe. Why both? A developed, complex flavor in your cookie. You can, of course, use only light or only dark, but I highly suggest the combination of the two. With so little ingredients, you want to make sure you’re using the right ones — and the best quality ones.

How to make brown sugar shortbread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make brown sugar shortbread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

We’ll make the cookies slice-and-bake style, my favorite. This isn’t a new concept for you, as we’ve chatted about slice and bake cookies three times before. Not to mention, 3 new slice-and-bake cookie recipes in Sally’s Cookie Addiction! (hellooooo maple walnut) The KEY to baking slice-and-bakes? Chilling the dough. You’ll divide the buttery dough in half, then roll each half into a log. Chill these logs for at least 4 hours. Seems like awhile, but I actually prefer to chill them overnight. So this is a fantastic recipe to make ahead in all your holiday cookie baking. After the logs are chilled, you slice them up and bake.

If you skip the chilling, expect the 2017 Massive Cookie Spread on your baking sheets.

Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread for your Christmas cookie platters! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread for your Christmas cookie platters! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

For a little extra sparkle, roll the logs into coarse sugar. Totally optional, but you know how I feel about sparkles. PLUS it gives the edges more crunch. Love the added texture, especially paired with the softer centers.

Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread for your Christmas cookie platters! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread for your Christmas cookie platters! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Besides that, you’ll just need a glass of milk handy for delicious dunking. (How Santa Claus of you!) If brown sugar is your weakness, this shortbread is a no-brainer!!

See all cookie palooza recipes.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed Domino® Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup (67g) packed Domino® Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional: 2/3 cup (135g) coarse sugar or Domino® Demerara Cane Sugar, for rolling

Directions:

  1. Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, light brown sugar, and dark brown sugar together on medium-high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
  3. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until the dough comes together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  6. Remove logs from the refrigerator and roll into coarse sugar, if desired. It’s added only for a little crunch! Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Make ahead tip: Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Cookie dough logs freeze well too, up to 3 months. Allow the logs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 6.

Recipe Notes:

Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

In partnership with Domino® SugarSome of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread for your Christmas cookie platters! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

94 Comments

Comments

  1. Ellen on December 2, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    These are (or should I say were, since they’re practically gone) delicious! I love shortbread and brown sugar, so this was the perfect combination! The texture was just like shortbread but even better! They were soft in the center and had a nice crisp edge and the sugar was a nice touch! My family LOVED them! I’ll have to try cinnamon next time too! 

    • Sally on December 3, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Hi Ellen! Thank you so much for reporting back about the shortbread. So happy you all enjoyed it!!

  2. Sally K on December 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Sally, it’s  me again about those brown sugar shortbread cookies. I sent a picture to your Facebook  page, so you can see what they look like.
    The texture was soft and felt a little doughy. The size of the spread  was ok, just on the thin side
    When I took the cookies off the sheet to put on the rack the parchment paper looked greasy.
    Butter was at room temp. I hr. Did not use Domino sugars.
    Do you slice the dough straight from the fridge after chilling overnight. Hope you can help me.
    Thanks Sally, it is a wonderful recipe and I want to make some more. A definite keeper!

  3. claudia on December 3, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Hi sally can i use this recipe to make cut out cookies ?

    • Sally on December 4, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Hi Claudia! The dough won’t hold up very well to shapes, so I strongly suggest the slice and bake method. But let me know anything you try!

  4. Jessica on December 3, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Just finished making these brown sugar shortbread cookies and they are perfect – delicious and beautiful! I also made your no-bake chocolate coconut snowballs which are equally amazing. Thanks for the fantastic cookie recipes this year!

  5. JamieinPDX on December 4, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Just made the dough last night. And because I’m a bad person (I usually take baking to an extreme level, without any restraint or forethought whatsoever), I mixed in Nescafe instant granules for a touch of espresso. Before sliding them into the oven a few minutes ago, I prinkled the tops with a bit of extra coarse sugar to go with the rims, and centered a tiny dark chocolate chip on each. Just because I’m like that.

  6. Joellyn on December 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Would this recipe work in the stoneware shortbread pans I use for regular shortbread?  Love the idea of shortbread and brown sugar combo!!

    • Sally on December 5, 2017 at 8:32 am

      I can’t see why not!

  7. Linda Hinkle on December 5, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Can you freeze this cookie dough for later?

    • Sally on December 5, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Yep! See my make ahead tip.

  8. Amy Albert on December 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Sally! My family Loves shortbread cookies & I’m so excited to give these a shot, as I too love brown sugars. My question is……can I simply scoop these w/ my ice cream scoop i use for all my cookies & then flatten them prior to baking?  I have no patience for rolling them. Lol. Thank you in advance for your opinion. I’ve enjoyed your recipes & I’m sure these will be no exception.  

    • Sally on December 6, 2017 at 6:42 am

      Hi Amy! It would probably take you longer to scoop and flatten than it is to roll the dough into 2 logs and slice! And I fear the cookies will spread too much if they are not slice and bake style.

  9. Randy Bennett on December 6, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Sally, our dough turned out to be too dry. Is it possible the butter was not melted enough? 

    • Sally on December 6, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Are the cookies dry? Or just the dough?

  10. Carrie on December 6, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    These spread like crazy (very tasty, spread cookies)…and I can’t figure out what I did wrong. I used all light brown sugar because that is what I had on hand, would that have done it? Was my butter too soft when I made the dough? I chilled for 2 days. I even chilled again after rolling in sugar. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for all you do!

    • Sally on December 7, 2017 at 6:04 am

      Hi Carrie! Thank you for reporting back about the brown sugar shortbread. The butter *may* have been too soft when you got started. But if you decide to make the cookies again, you can add 2-3 Tbsp of flour. This should help your next batch.

  11. Emma on December 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Hi Sally! I love your shortbread cookies. I made the hazelnut chocolate ones last year and they were a huge hit with my family. I tried this recipe and they were very tasty but not quite right and I’m wondering where I went wrong.  I chilled the dough but it ended up being really dry and crumbly when I cut the cookies. I was able to bake many of the cookies anyway but they came out sort of oily. Could my butter have been too soft? I live in Southern California and room temperature can often be quite warm. Or were they not wrapped up tightly enough in the fridge? Any tips would be helpful! Thanks!

    • Sally on December 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Hi Emma! The butter *may* have been too soft when you got started. If you decide to make the cookies again, you can add 2-3 Tbsp of flour. This should help your next batch be a little less oily.

  12. Laura | Tutti Dolci on December 7, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I *love* shortbread and I can only imagine how incredible this brown sugar version is! Can’t wait to try them!

  13. Meg on December 8, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I can’t believe you left out meatloaf in your list of town sugar awesomeness. Put a quarter cup on top instead of horrible ketchup. You’re welcome.

  14. Elizabeth on December 9, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Love your recipes Sally! On this one, my insulated cookie sheet destroyed the cookies, they spread out to a mushy layer and hardened into a candy-like texture! The small batch I did on my regular baking sheet came out fine though. Just wanted to mention that!

    • Sally on December 9, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Good to know! Thanks Elizabeth, this will help other readers.

  15. Athena on December 11, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Not sure if I’m going wrong here but I chilled them over night and they’re literally bricks, is it supposed to do that or should I leave them to warm to room temperature before baking?

    • Sally on December 11, 2017 at 10:48 am

      Yep, they’ll be quite hard when slicing. You want a very firm dough.

      • Athena on December 11, 2017 at 9:16 pm

        I went with it and they were great, I will definitely be keeping this recipe. Thank you



  16. Tammy Spencer on December 25, 2017 at 11:28 am

    While these cookies were delicious, mine spread out a lot & didn’t look anything like yours. I kept the slices chilled until they were ready to go in the oven, but I still ended up with flat cookies. Any suggestions?

  17. Justin on January 6, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Hey Sally. I just turned 13 and am a big fan of your stuff. The air is so dry here. The recipe was going well, but after we added the flour, the dough was crumbly and we had to add a tablespoon of water. Other than that, they’re looking good. My mom wanted to know if we could roll the dough out, cut them into shapes with cookie cutters, chill them, and then bake them. Could we do that? It rolled out well when we tried it. We haven’t cut them yet. Thanks.

    • Sally on January 7, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Hi Justin! Thank you so much for saying hi 🙂 This cookie dough isn’t ideal for rolling/shaping– they will spread too much. It’s best to use this slice and bake method.

      • Ardea on January 7, 2018 at 11:02 am

        Good morning Sally! I’m Justin’s mom. The cookies worked beautifully rolled and cut out, but I think only because we cut them out, and then chilled them on th e baking sheet for 5-6 hours in the very cold garage. No spreading at all, and they taste wonderfully amazing.



  18. Leah on January 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Hi Sally!
    I am in the process of making these cookies right now. I took my dough out this morning and it’s rock hard so the course sugar isn’t sticking. I’ve let them sit out for almost an hour and it’s still not sticking– maybe there’s too much flour on the outside? Should I have rolled them in sugar before refrigerating? Thanks for your help!

    • Sally on January 16, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      Hi Leah! Can you use a little arm muscle to press the logs into the sugar? If you decide to make the cookies again, you can roll the logs in coarse sugar before chilling.

      • Leah on January 17, 2018 at 8:22 am

        I tried my best to brute force the sugar on (a sentence I never thought I’d say) but I think the dough was just too dry. Next time I’ll roll in sugar before refrigerating! Needless to say, even the partially sugared cookies were deelish!



  19. Fran on June 1, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Did you use a glass to make an indentation in the cookie dough before baking?

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Hi Fran! No I do not.

  20. RS on June 2, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Hi Sally. I followed the exact measurements and chilled the dough overnight but my dough feels rock hard.

    Is it supposed to be this hard?

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Yes. It’s the solidified butter. Are you able to slice the logs? Let them sit out for 10 minutes if they’re too hard to slice through.

  21. Elizabeth Furtado on July 17, 2018 at 9:31 am

    What happens if I use ALL light brown sugar? Would that be okay?

    • Sally on July 17, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Hi Elizabeth! Using all light brown sugar is perfectly fine. 🙂

Reviews

Questions

  1. Fran on June 1, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Did you use a glass to make an indentation in the cookie dough before baking?

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Hi Fran! No I do not.

  2. RS on June 2, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Hi Sally. I followed the exact measurements and chilled the dough overnight but my dough feels rock hard.

    Is it supposed to be this hard?

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Yes. It’s the solidified butter. Are you able to slice the logs? Let them sit out for 10 minutes if they’re too hard to slice through.

  3. Elizabeth Furtado on July 17, 2018 at 9:31 am

    What happens if I use ALL light brown sugar? Would that be okay?

    • Sally on July 17, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Hi Elizabeth! Using all light brown sugar is perfectly fine. 🙂

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