Chewy, crisp, and tender brown sugar shortbread is made with a combination of light and dark brown sugar for the best flavor. These slice and bake style cookies are simple to make and you’ll love the extra sparkle of coarse sugar on the edges!
I teamed up with Domino® Sugar to bring you today’s cookie recipe. 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.
Brown Sugar is The Best
Brown sugar is my favorite ingredient in the kitchen. Brown sugar leaves its alluring moisture wherever it goes, not to mention the home-sweet-home aroma and flavor of sweet molasses. It 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, caramel, oatmeal, peaches, apples, and the list goes on. Respect, brown sugar, respect.
Don’t let simplicity fool you. Traditional shortbread is made from a small handful of basic kitchen ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour. There’s usually no leavening or eggs required. When I want plain shortbread, I usually start with the dough from these shortbread wedge cookies or the cut-out version found in my cookbook. And I like adding a little pizazz every now and then such as in these cherry almond shortbread cookies and this recipe for salted chocolate pistachio shortbread.
Today’s variation is brown sugar sweetened, crisp on the edges, and tender in the center. 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.
Brown Sugar Shortbread Ingredients
You need a few staple ingredients to make brown sugar shortbread. With so little ingredients, you want to make sure you’re using the right ones– and the best quality ones.
- Flour: Sturdy all-purpose flour is the base of this shortbread cookie recipe.
- Salt: We use a little salt to balance out some of the sweetness.
- Butter: You can’t have buttery shortbread without butter. Make sure you use room temperature butter that’s still cool to the touch.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is the most important ingredient in today’s cookie. We’ll be using both Domino® Light Brown and Dark Brown Sugars in this recipe. Why both? This combination offers a better flavor in your cookie. You can, of course, use only light or only dark, but I love the combination.
- Vanilla Extract: A cookie’s best friend! Try using homemade vanilla extract.
Slice and Bake Style
We’ll make the cookies slice-and-bake/icebox style, a favorite method you can use with other recipes such as:
- Sprinkle Slice & Bake Cookies
- Chocolate Orange Slice & Bake Cookies
- Toasted Hazelnut Slice & Bake Cookies
- Pecan Shortbread
Chilling the dough is key to baking slice-and-bakes. 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– this is a fantastic recipe to make ahead. After the logs are chilled, slice and bake.
If you skip the chilling, expect the cookies to massively spread on your baking sheets.
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.
If brown sugar is your weakness, this shortbread is a must.Print
Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread!
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed dark brown sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- optional: 2/3 cup (135g) coarse sugar, for rolling
- Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
- 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.
- On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until the dough comes together.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 week.
- Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Baking Sheet, Silpat Baking Mat, Cooling Rack, and Coarse Sparkling Sugar
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.
Keywords: brown sugar shortbread