Buttery cookies made with brown sugar. These chewy Brown Sugar Butter Cookies are an easy dessert to make! If you love sugar cookies, see all of our recipes here.
I’m a little bit of a cookie addict. Butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies duke it out for tops in my book. I know, I know, kinda boring. That’s why I love simple tricks that transform those classics into something new.
I have been making these for so long I could practically do it with my eyes closed 🙂 We took a traditional vanilla butter cookie and swapped the white sugar for brown sugar. Brown sugar keeps the cookies soft and tender. It also gives the cookie a richer flavor.
What is brown sugar?
Brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses. Natural brown sugar means that there is molasses left naturally after the refining process. Commercially produced brown sugar has molasses added in. Dark brown sugar has a little more molasses than light brown sugar.
Can you use brown sugar in place of white? Yes, in some cases, but brown sugar has more moisture in it than white, so it can cause baked goods to be extra soft and tender, but also dense. For that reason it won’t work in recipes that are meant to be light and airy.
What does brown sugar taste like? Brown sugar has a deeper, richer flavor than white sugar. Think of caramel or toffee…that’s the flavor you’ll be adding to baked goods with brown sugar.
Tips for Making This Brown Sugar Cookie Recipe:
Here are 6 key tips you can do to make sure this brown sugar butter cookies recipe is successful:
Use light brown sugar. Although we’ve tested this with dark brown sugar, we find it works best with light brown. The cookies are soft, tender and dense. Like shortbread!
Use a mixer. This makes sure the ingredients get combined really well.
Cream the butter and sugar really well. You don’t want any pockets of butter because they’ll melt during cooking and cause your cookies to spread unevenly. Cream the butter, then cream the butter and sugars again. And even again for good measure.
Scrape the sides of the bowl. Hard pieces of butter can stick to the sides of the bowl. Scraping the sides of the bowl several times during mixing prevents this from happening.
Roll into balls, press, then refrigerate. Refrigerating the dough prevents unwanted cookie spread. All it needs is at least 30 minutes. Remember to make fork tine marks in the cookie while the dough is soft. When it comes out of the fridge the dough will be hard.
Don’t overbake! We do not let the cookies get brown so that they stay soft. They will look set, but should be still really soft.
What shape is best for butter cookies?
I usually debate about what shape to bake these into. I like to avoid rolling and cutting cookies as much as I can, but for these cookies, rolling worked better than dropping.
I tried the criss-cross of fork tines, but that looked so much like traditional peanut butter cookies I had to change it. You don’t want to confuse people! I went with a single press of the fork, but these could also be pressed down with the bottom of a cup, or even your fingers.
1/2cupwhite granulated sugar for rolling(optional)
Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again. Add in the egg and vanilla extract, mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until combined.
Scoop out dough – approximately 1 ½ tablespoons- and roll into balls. Roll the balls in the granulated sugar. (You can skip the rolling in sugar if you'd like.)
Place onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined cookie sheet. Press down with the tines of a fork.
Refrigerate dough balls for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the centers are set. We do not let the cookies get brown so that they stay soft.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking pan for 3-4 minutes, then remove to a baking rack to finish cooling.
Store in an airtight container.
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 24 cookies, with 1 serving being 1 cookie. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**