Brown Sugar Shortbread

Looking for something to add to your holiday baking menu? These brown sugar shortbread cookies come together fast, with a long bake in a low oven, leaving you plenty of time to deal with the fussier recipes on your list while they’re baking.

The brown sugar in the shortbread lends it a lovely, almost caramely taste and a wonderfully chewy texture. While crumbly shortbread can be delicious too, this variety has the advantage of holding together slightly better, meaning it’s less fragile and slices into neater wedges.

It also seems like a pretty good canvas for more interesting varieties of shortbread. Add chai spices to it. Drizzle it with melted chocolate. Frost it with your favorite frosting. There are plenty of ways to jazz this recipe up.

But the best part is that, unless you want to, you don’t have to. It’s delicious just the way it is.

Brown Sugar Shortbread
Just barely adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Baking magazine from 2009

16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 extra tablespoon for greasing the pan
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with the extra tablespoon of butter.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with handheld beaters, or with a whisk), beat the butter on medium speed until light and pale yellow, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Empty the mixture into the prepared pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan. (CI says to use a ramekin and then a teaspoon on the edges to press the dough evenly into the pan. I just used my fingers. It worked fine.)

3. Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the surface of the shortbread. Using a paring knife, score the shortbread into 12 even wedges.

4. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until shortbread is golden brown and firm at the edges, yet slightly soft in the center, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, remove springform pan sides, and cool for 10 minutes. Slide shortbread onto cutting board and recut wedges along existing lines. Cool cookies completely before serving, about 3 hours. Shortbread may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

show hide 2 comments

Spencer This looks amazing! I love the wavy ripples on the surface of the shortbread – speaks to my inner surf-goddess :) Sort of scary that I have everything that I need in my kitchen to make these RIGHT NOW *sigh*.

Megan Make them! They are awesome :)

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