Brown Sugar Cookies

brown sugar cookie

I just applied for my Masters program.

Then I ate five cookies to dull the pain.

But the pain is still there.   Ouchie.

No matter how I feel about becoming a better reading teacher for K-12 (which happens to be awesome), I do not feel awesome about going back to school.  How did this happen?!  I thought I was done.  Sob.

Brown Sugar Cookies

But I also thought I didn’t like sugar cookies.  And things turned out alright.

Would this be a good time for a confession?  I just really don’t love sugar cookies of the frosted cut out Santa, snowflake, or Christmas tree variety.  I just can’t seem to crave them with the same passion that I crave holiday Minty Chocolate Truffles or Salty Toffee.

Then, I made these brown sugar cookies.  After giving permission for Bjork to eat 2 heaping spoonfuls of the dough, and giving permission for myself to eat unlimited dough, I sat by the fire sipping hot chocolate and eating a perfectly lightly crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside cookie glittering with sugar crystals.   And I felt happier than a pug in a rug.

That was all before I applied for my Masters degree.  Er, program.  Whatever.  It’s all just a blur after that.

If I may boss you around for a moment, it’s time for you to make these cookies right now.  They remind me of a cross between a classic sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle without the spices.  They have a warm buttery flavor with an out-of-this-world light, soft yet lightly crispy buttery texture.  I love butter.

And can I just say two very important words to you right now?  AMAZING. DOUGH.

You know what to do.  Go.

Brown Sugar CookiesPinit

3.9 from 11 reviews
Brown Sugar Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • sugar for rolling
  1. Cream sugars and shortening. Mix in the egg, then add dry ingredients.
  2. Use a cookie scoop to form nice round balls and roll each dough ball in white sugar. Don't flatten.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
My favorite time to eat them was 1) before they were baked, and 2) immediately after they were baked. For better or worse, after a few hours they will become more crispy, like a traditional sugar cookie.

This recipe comes from a good family friend, Vicki, who owns and operates a catering business with her husband.  Basically anything she makes turns to edible gold.  She’s the real deal.

Maybe I should pursue a Masters in catering.  With a specialty in brown sugar cookies.

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  1. Blog is the New Black says:

    Hubba hubba… I want some!

  2. I LOVE, love, love, sugar cookies – of all kinds. And I love snickerdoodles. You just tapped into a gargantuan weak spot here. I’m still debating about what to bake for Christmas goodies. . . . that’s bad, right? Little behind the ball, but, that’s me. . . . 😉
    I like the “pug in a rug” reference. Are you getting a pug for Christmas??

  3. What an awesome sounding cookie!

  4. These cookies sound just perfect!

    I can’t imagine going back to college now – you have my deep admiration!

  5. Congrats (or I’m sorry) for applying, haha. Good luck with that! I think you did the right thing by eating five cookies. I’m not much for the frosted cut out sugar cookies either but these look different and better. Can’t wait to try!

  6. Oh, these do look yummy! Brown sugar makes everything INFINITELY better.

  7. Yum! Yum!

    And I’ll use your words to describe what you should do about your Master’s- ” You know what to do. Go”


    • Good for you! I’m just using that mantra for the cookies. :) Are you thinking about pursuing your Masters, too?

  8. Sounds fantastic and like these cookies could take the edge off anything. I found/find grad school so much more rewarding (though totally crazy) than undergrad. Hopefully you like it!

  9. Soo @ Little Miss Fitness says:

    Congrats on your decision to go back to school!! Lindsay, you rock. :) You will be great and will be blessed for your determination and hard work. And just think of all the stress baking you can do! 😉 xoxo

  10. Congrats on applying for your master’s program! I’m thinking I’ll be doing a lot of baking (and dough-eating-justification) like this when I apply for mine. :) These cookies look like perfection!

  11. grad school is tough – but you can handle it!

    and thank you for this recipe – now these cookies can help me get through a couple weeks of it!

  12. Congrats on applying for your master’s! I know how you feel- after I turned in my apps for my doctoral program I had a moment of “what the hell did I just do” and unfortunately, I did not have these beautiful cookies to console me!

  13. I have to make these for my husband! I recently made “sour cream cookies” and he has been loving them! He loves the plainer, sugar cookies!

    • lol… so does Bjork, as evidenced by the tube of refrigerated cookie dough that he is currently finishing off.

  14. Oh my, these look beyond yummy!

  15. I’m in my first semester of my (early childhood ed) Master’s and – believe it or not – its pretty great! It’s MUCH better and more interesting to take classes about things you’re actually interested in/are relevant to your life. You can do it!!

  16. Yes! These look soooo good! I need to make them asap!

  17. I might have to use this recipe for an upcoming bake sale at work! They look so lovely!

  18. These sound amazing! When I make cookies I have to protect the cookie dough otherwise it gets gobbled up before the cookies can get made!

  19. I love brown sugar cookies…but am not a huge sugar cookie gal either. The thought of these by the fire is making me happy…and jealous of your fireplace! Congrats on applying for your master’s program! I began mine last summer…and had graduated 4 years before. It’s definitely a tricky transition. I ended up deciding to only take summer classes. Somethings should be a process. I think I used finances as an excuse. Whoops?

  20. Congratulations on signing up for your master’s! It’ll all be worth it when you’re finished! I hated getting mine but it was well worth it when I was able to learn more about becoming a better teacher and the pay bump didn’t hurt either! You can do it!

    And these cookies…. they speak to my heart… or is my belly? I don’t know but I’m making them because I love sugar cookies!

  21. Going back to school is SO fun, you’ll love it :) I love being “old” in undergrad at 27…the years of working somehow put schoolwork in much better perspective, and you’ll have somehow grown smarter without even having realized. Also, brown sugar is my bath salt. Or sugar. That is to say, I love it.

  22. You convinced me (as a fellow person who doesn’t really crave sugar cookies) to try these cookies! And congrats for getting your Masters Degree. I did it last year and it’s so worth it!

  23. These cookies look great, amazing photos! And congratulations on the Masters program!

  24. Oh wow, these are like little pillows of heaven. And so simple to make. Definitely my kind of cookie. Thanks for the great recipe and good luck with your going back to school to get your master’s. Always a fun process when you’ve been out of the loop for awhile :)

  25. That cookie looks fantastic. I bet it tastes just delicious. Come visit. We have pretzel Heath bark this week.

  26. Congrats on applying for the master’s! I was a little ambivalent about quitting my job and going back to school at 33, but I’m loving it to the point where I just applied for a Ph.D. program for next year. Good luck!

  27. Hi Lindsay!
    These look very similar to a cookie that my Grandma Nelson used to bake for my dad. She baked them in her wood-burning oven and checked the oven temp by sticking her hand in there. It was my dad’s responsibility to keep the wood box full. They were his favorite cookie!
    Now Garrett loves these cookies and I’m very glad that I don’t have to use a wood-burning oven to bake them! We call them crack cookies because of their appearance, not because of any secret, addictive ingredient!

    Grandma Nelson’s Crack Cookies
    1 c butter
    1 c brown sugar
    1 c sugar
    2 beaten eggs
    3 scant c flour
    1 t. cream of tartar
    1 t. soda
    1 t. salt
    1 t. vanilla

    Roll in balls and dip in sugar. Bake at 375 for 10-12 min.

    Garrett & Brett like them crispy – Elise & I like them a little more chewy. They taste great pre-baked, post-baked or dipped in a little coffee!!


    • Those do look very similar! Any cookie that’s dipped in sugar – chewy OR crispy – has my vote! And dipped in coffee? Now I know what I’ll be having for breakfast on Christmas morning!! :) Merry Christmas!

  28. Did you use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar?

  29. These look amazing…and yum!
    Are they baked in a preheated oven?

  30. This is a great recipe! Thanks for sharing! They smell like doughnuts when they’re baking but it’s nice knowing they’re much better for you ;)!

  31. Thanks for sharing this recipe! They smell like doughnuts when they’re baking but it’s nice to know they’re much better for you ;)!

  32. I was looking for a sugar cookie recipe that uses brown sugar. I plan on making 1 batch, and then making a 2nd batch using Muscovado sugar instead of the brown, to taste the difference between the two in cookie form. Been doing a lot of research and blogging about different types of sugar.

  33. I just made these, and they are perfect. Thank you for sharing! My husband took his first bite and made the most satisfied sound.

  34. These were delicious and definitely the best sugar cookies I have ever made. Only problem is the recipe makes only about a dozen so I doubled it, and they spread out A LOT. I would consider making the dough balls tiny so you can have more cookies!

  35. Hi,

    I just came across your blog a little while ago and these recipes look amazing. I made these cookies twice already…they’ve become a favorite around my house! Thanks so much for posting!

  36. So excited to try these. They are in the oven now :) I would agree that just before they go in the oven they are yummy!!! I did a small amount of brown sugar (1tbs) in my rolling white sugar. Thanks for sharing. And you will go great in your program. Just one class at a time :)

  37. Those look awesome! Like a traditional sugar cookie, and I usually make these ( because they’re delicious, buttery and richer, something I miss in a reguar sugar cookie. These look like a perfect blend of the two!

    Thanks for sharing!


  38. 5/2012
    I am recuperating from a brutal bout of flu.
    Every bite of food tastes like it’s coveted in hair…..
    until I saw this recipe. A couple of nights ago, I was too ill and tired to bake. Instead, I rummaged around the kitchen for a snack, gave up and went back to bed. I found this delightful recipe, read it over, 2 or 3 times and felt oddly satisfied. The next day, I baked these cookies and ate several. Who’ counting? I used demarara sugar and butter instead of shortening. Oh, thank you so very much.

  39. These turned out very non-cookie and were more like flat cakes. They ran together too, so be careful on spacing. I’m not sure what went wrong. I followed the recipe exactly. Maybe because I didn’t pack the flour? But I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to?

    The batter tasted great, I even put it in the fridge for half a day, but no luck

    • Bummer, I wonder what happened? Maybe the butter or shortening was too soft? The finished product is a little bit chewy (lightly crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside), which might be a little different than a regular cookie, but it shouldn’t be like a flat cake. Sorry to hear about that!

  40. Odell Wright says:

    When I mixed the recipes up it was really watery

  41. kimberley Lebert says:

    They came out flat & ran together…I used butter, I followed this to the “T”…????

  42. This cookie is great! Ive made them 3 times so far. Because I dont make it a habit of buying the cream of tartar, I replace it and the baking soda with 1 tsp of baking powder. I use slightly softened butter (1 stk about 10 sec in the microwave). I use a wooden spoon and a lotta muscle and cream the sugars and butter together. …I think this step helps the dough be thicker. If the butter is too soft (as it was the 1st attempt I made with these) then the dough definitely comes out more watery/sticky and is hard to make the ball. Also, when baked they did run together as some have said and were huge and crisped up rather than being a fluffy cookie….still tasted great though! As I said before, I also used baking powder in place of the baking soda & cream of tartar…doing this might make a fluffier cookie. At 12 mins in the oven they come out with slightly crispy edges and are fluffy & chewy inside. They stay that way for a couple days too…if they start to harden up I microwave it 5 sec and its soft again. Very yummy!!!! Hope this helps if anyone is having trouble cuz this is one of my new fav cookie recipes. My son & hubby love them as well.

    • Thank you Steph! I really appreciate your feedback. This is a recipe that I have on my list of “to retest” recipes because I have gotten some comments from people saying it didn’t work. Sometimes you just need to double check! :) But I appreciate your comments a lot! Thanks!

      • I made these again last night using the method I described above. They come out wonderful every time! My family. …and now extended family who ive made them for loves them too! It might be a bit tempermental of a recipe depending on how u mix it (I always do it just by hand) or if the butter is too soft (like u mentioned before). I will say I like using just a tsp of baking powder in place of the baking soda & cream of tartar, but I dont think itd make that huge of a difference. Its a great recipe. :) thanks for my families new fav cookie! …my son also loves helping me roll them in the brown sugar before baking. :)

  43. Margarita says:

    Tried these cookies last night they were absolutely delicious…..great job!!! Thank you saw a comment about how cookies come out flat aren’t they supposed to be like that??

  44. Since finding this recipe in June, it has become one of my go-tos! I do baking with groups of students and people with special needs and it is always a hit! Thanks for the recipe!

  45. Margie cano says:

    Cookies turned out super white??? Any takes on that?? Taste great though

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