Brown Sugar Shortbread

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

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

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

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

How to make brown sugar shortbread on

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

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

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

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

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

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 dozen
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Chewy, crisp, tender, and EASY brown sugar shortbread!


  • 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 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


  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.


  1. 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Cookie Sheets | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling Rack | Wilton Coarse Sparkling Sugar
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

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


  1. These came out perfect! And I took them a step further and used them to make alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies). Also, I froze them for about 40 mins and they were good to go. Great recipe!

  2. I’ve now just made this dough two times in a row. The only way to get an 8 inch log that’s 2.5 inches in diameter is to use all the dough. What am I missing?

    1. Kara, I had a similar experience, although when I actually measured, the diameter was close to 2″ (larger than I thought by eyeballing it). Next time I think I might aim more for the 2.5″ diameter rather than the 8″ length and see how that goes.

  3. I love shortbread cookies but these have got to be the best! Made half a batch and topped them with dulce de leche and a generous sprinkling of salt. Question though, do you think this could be made with brown butter? Im thinking of browning butter, letting it solidify, and then bring to room temp before baking.

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed them so much! And yes – please try them with brown butter and then let me know how they turn out! I bet they would be amazing!

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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