Brown Sugar Cookies

I love browned butter in baked goods; it gives them such a nutty, rich flavor. So when I saw this recipe for browned butter brown sugar cookies I just had to make them. These cookies are phenomenal! With nutty, caramel notes from browned butter and a fair bit of salt and vanilla to balance the flavors, these cookies will become an instant favorite.

Rolling the dough balls in a combination of brown and granulated sugar give these cookies a delicious sugar crust. Cook’s Illustrated nails it again with a cookie that has a soft, chewy center, a crackly-crisp top and a flavor that screams brown sugar.

Brown Sugar Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies


14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


In 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat 10 tablespoons butter until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to the heat-proof bowl of a stand mixer. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter to melt; set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
While butter is cooling, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, rubbing between fingers, until well combined; set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
Add remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter; attach paddle and mix on medium-low speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
Roll two heaping tablespoons of dough into ball between your palms, roll the ball in the sugar mixture, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet spacing the balls about 2 inches apart (you should be able to fit 12 cookies on each sheet).
Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone); 12 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.
Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

Recipe Note: Use fresh brown sugar, as older (harder and drier) brown sugar will make the cookies too dry.

Source: Cook's Illustrated March, 2007

One Year Ago: Chocolate Dipped Coconut Almond Macaroons 

57 Responses to “Brown Sugar Cookies”

  1. #
    realfunfood — August 30, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Wow! Your photos are beautiful!! Love the bright blue napkin.

  2. #
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — August 30, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    These really sound incredible!

  3. #
    Kristen@PrettySweet — August 30, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    I’ve never seen any cookies like this! They look amazingly delicious and they’re getting added to one of my Pinterest boards!! =)

  4. #
    Miriam @ Overtime Cook — August 30, 2011 @ 11:27 am

    What gorgeous and delicious looking cookies. I’m pretty sure a batch of these would win me a “sister of the year” award with my sisters. 😉

    Thanks for posting!


  5. #
    Tina@flourtrader — August 30, 2011 @ 11:48 am

    The texture of these does look delicious and as described. Unique cookie-will need to try!

  6. #
    Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 — August 30, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    This is one of my favorite cookie recipes! Everyone who has tried them just loves them. They’re amazingly rich and I love the caramelly flavor.

  7. #
    Michael Ann Riley — August 30, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    These look absolutely wonderful!! I recently made a similar recipe for sugar cookies that called for brown sugar, but not browned butter (they were sinfully good though!). I subscribe to your blog via email so I don’t miss any recipes. When this showed up in my inbox this morning, I knew what I’d be baking today!!

  8. #
    Liz @ Southern Charm — August 30, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    Wow. I’m speechless. Let’s just say, these will be made tonight. Can’t wait.

  9. #
    The Teenage Taste — August 30, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

    Confession: Sometimes, while baking, I sneak a few spoonfuls of brown sugar.
    I think these cookies should tame my brown sugar obsessed ways. 😉

  10. #
    chocolateandcarrots — August 30, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

    Woah. These look awesome. I love soft and chewy cookies. They are my favorite kind. Plus, I adore brown sugar…probably a little too much. These cookies were made for me. 🙂

  11. #
    tiffany — August 30, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

    I can only imagine how these must have smelled baking! BUZZED!

  12. #
    Lori — August 30, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    I think I’ll try to make these this weekend! Maybe they’ll be added to the school goodies at Christmas time!

    • Christina replied: — August 31st, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

      Yea! Let me know how they turn out for you! They would be prefect for Christmas too…they have a praline-like taste to them. 🙂

  13. #
    RavieNomNoms — August 30, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

    Oh theses are just simply gorgeous!! They look phenomenal!

  14. #
    Bluejellybeans — August 30, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    Lovely as usual 🙂

  15. #
    sportsglutton — August 30, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    I’ve been on a browned butter kick for the past few months myself (I think I’m driving my wife crazy). These cookies sounds amazing!

  16. #
    Caroline — August 30, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    I completely agree–browned butter is delicious in baked goods. Such a rich flavor. I must try these…they’re the perfect cookie for me (no chocolate)!

  17. #
    deb — August 30, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

    Oh my goodness! These cookies look extraordinary. My daughter and I are cookie junkies, we will be making these soon!

  18. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — August 30, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

    I love the idea of a cookie with a strong influence of brown sugar! I bet these are addicting.

  19. #
    Susie — August 30, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    These look fantastic. I am going to have to make some for the boys.

  20. #
    Sandra — August 30, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    You’re right, they will become an instant favorite!

  21. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — August 30, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

    Well, OK then, twist my arm. Wait the yield is only 24? I’ll make two batches.

  22. #
    Kristen@PrettySweet — August 30, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    O.K., I had to come look at these for a second time…I’m trying to not bake cookies/desserts this week, but these are soooo tempting…!

  23. #
    happywhennothungry — August 30, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

    These cookies look so chewy and amazing! Def will have to try these 🙂

  24. #
    Beth Michelle — August 31, 2011 @ 1:13 am

    Your cookies look so amazing. The texture looks perfect!! Im sure they will be an instant favorite.

  25. #
    yesim — August 31, 2011 @ 10:44 am


  26. #
    ChgoJohn — August 31, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    What a tempting photo! Those cookies look so good next to that glass of milk. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

  27. #
    Mary Beth — August 31, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    Wow, these cookies look delicious! I’ve never had brown sugar cookies, so I’ll definitely be making these in the future.

  28. #
    Barbara — August 31, 2011 @ 11:40 am

    Wow… These look and sound fantastic!! I must try them!

  29. #
    Joel — August 31, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

    These look fantastic! Any way to get the printable version working?

    • Christina replied: — August 31st, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

      It should be working now…let me know if you have any trouble. 🙂

  30. #
    Sasha @ The Procrastobaker — September 1, 2011 @ 6:15 am

    Oh im so going to make these, they look GORGEOUS!

  31. #
    candace — September 1, 2011 @ 11:08 am

    Do you think that you could make the dough balls and refrigerate them, and bake when ready? I’d want to refrigerate them for about 36 hours and bake them the morning I’d be serving them.

    • Christina replied: — September 3rd, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

      I don’t think that the cookies would turn out like I have them pictured if you refrigerated them beforehand. Since the browned butter is only cooled for 15 minutes, the cookie dough itself is kind of warm when you place them on the baking sheet to bake. When you place them in the oven, they spread into the chewy cookies that you see. If you refrigerate them, the cookies will not spread as much in the oven and will affect the overall texture and outcome of the cookie. That being said, I have never personally tried it, I am just speaking of the outcome on some of my other baking experiences. If you give it a try, I would love to know how they turn out for you! 🙂

  32. #
    Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} — September 1, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    I have never tried brown sugar cookies but these look fabulous and I do love brown sugar!!! Yum!

  33. #
    Bake Your Day — September 1, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    I already love these. I think brown sugar is my favorite ingredient in baking, these are beautiful and I would gobble them up!

  34. #
    briarrose — September 1, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

    That flavor sounds divine.

  35. #
    Carissa @ Pretty/Hungry — September 2, 2011 @ 12:05 am

    Oh my goodness… these absolutely sound like MY. KIND. OF. COOKIE. Salty, caramely flavors are my weak spot. I’ll be bringing these to Thanksgiving!

  36. #
    Chau — September 3, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

    I just made these the other day for a school social and they were a hit! The flavor is fantastic and they filled my house with such a buttery sweetness :). I do have one question though, are these cookies supposed to be very sweet? I cut back on the brown sugar that goes into the cookies itself (1 3/8 cups instead of 1 3/4) because of the extra sugar coating, but they are still pretty sweet.
    They are still very delicious. Thank you for sharing, Christina 😀

  37. #
    Kristen@PrettySweet — September 4, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    I’m baking these for a Labor Day cookout tomorrow…I just took the first pan out of the oven. These may be some of the BEST cookies I’ve ever tasted! They are *unbelievable*!!! And I’m already thinking they’d be just as wonderful at a tea party. =)

  38. #
    Angie Walker — September 6, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

    Fabulous!! I’m going to have to try these too….

  39. #
    Tara — October 11, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

    THESE COOKIES ARE ABSOLUTELY FAN-FRICKEN-TABULOUS!!!! I only allow myself to make them once per month. Thank you.Life-CHANGING.

    • Christina replied: — October 15th, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

      I am so glad that you enjoyed these cookies! Thanks so much for letting me know how they turned out! 🙂

  40. #
    dana — October 30, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

    I’m planning on making these tomorrow to take to a friend’s house. Do you think light brown sugar would work or is the dark brown kind needed? Thanks!

    • Christina replied: — November 1st, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

      You can use the light brown sugar instead, but I would recommend using the dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar contains more molasses giving the cookies a stronger more intense flavor. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

  41. #
    Jen — November 5, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

    I just made these, and they are amazing!! That butter-and-brown-sugar flavor reminds me of a cobbler crust. I love a simple cookie that is surprisingly fabulous! Can’t wait to share them with my family. Christmas, maybe?

  42. Pingback: Brown Sugar Cookie Recipe | Jen's Favorite Cookies

  43. #
    Melissa Boan Wahl — November 13, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    I just made these and topped them with just a little flake sea salt instead of the sugar mixture to cut the sweetness. Perfect!

    • Christina replied: — November 21st, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

      Mmmm…I bet the sea salt tasted delicious! I will have to try that next time! Thanks so much for letting me know how they turned out! 🙂

  44. #
    Laurel — November 17, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    I just made these cookies for a bunch of my sorority sisters (with very high baking standards!) and they ALL agree they are the BEST cookies they’ve ever tried!!!! I used a flax egg because I didn’t have any whole eggs on hand, and they still turned out fab. Thanks so much for this incredible recipe!!!!

  45. Pingback: Brown Sugar Cookies | livelovepasta

  46. #
    Jade — March 2, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    Made these for some comfort food last night. Sure did the trick! The nuttiness of the browned butter is subtle but it adds a lot of interest.

    • Christina replied: — March 7th, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

      I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed the cookies! Thanks so much for letting me know how they turned out for you! 🙂

  47. Pingback: Brown Sugar Cookies « Mix It Up

  48. #
    Anne — April 29, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    These cookies are amazing! I added about half a tablespoon of cinnamon to the sugar mixture to give it a little bit more flavor and it turned out great 🙂

  49. #
    Erica — June 13, 2012 @ 6:52 pm

    I made these cooking and they were amazing!! Thank you for the recipe,It’s definitely a favorite now…

  50. #
    Amber — December 29, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    I added these to my normal Christmas baking list this year and they were by far everyone’s favorite. I even had someone proclaim on Facebook that these were the best of all the holiday treats they received this year. Someone commented with a question about refrigerating the cookie dough before baking… I actually made the dough balls ahead of time and froze them, defrosted and rilled in sufar before baking and they still turned out chewy and yummy. This will definitely be one of my go-to cookie recipes from now on. 🙂

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