Brown Sugar Shortbread

Jump to Recipe

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.

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© 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. Some 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.

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

104 Comments

All Comments

  1. 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! 

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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.  

    1. 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.

  7. 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!

    1. 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.

  8. 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!

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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?

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  14. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  15. 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?

    1. 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.

  16. recipe great… the dough will be hard after sitting in fridge all night or longer… just let it get room temp and then handle it.. (side note: its to many ads on this site..they pop up at bottom and slow page loading and then cause it to stall…hopefully soon you’ll be able to get rid of a few of them…. anywho…. I do love this Blog

  17. I’ve made these 2 or 3 times and have made just a few alterations: I used salted butter (because I am nuts for salty-sweet desserts), added a little cinnamon to the dough, and rolled the log in granulated sugar and cinnamon before baking. For me they are like crack—crispy, buttery, slightly salty and with delicious warm flavour. They received unanimous race reviews each time. Thank you, Sally!

  18. Just pulled these beauties from the oven! Delish! I only had light brown sugar, dark is hard to find in my area. I added a tablespoon of molasses to deepen the flavor. Thanks for a great recipe to add to my repitiore.

  19. Dough came together nicely and was easy to handle. After reading the comments, I tried to roll the dough in sugar before chilling.

  20. I love your recipes and I can’t wait to try this one! Can I use a little royal icing to make it a little more festive and colourful or is that not recommended due to the soft centers?

  21. Hey Sally! Can I add food colour to this dough or will it affect the consistency of the dough? If yes, would gel colour be better or some other kind?

    1. Hi Bushra! I recommend gel food coloring. It’s more potent, so you don’t need as much. (Too much may change the texture of the cookies.)

1 2

Reviews

Questions

  1. 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?

    1. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Sally's Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More

Sally's Cookie Palooza

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

Sally's Pie Week

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×