Food/ Great Gifts/ Hallmark Home and Family

Brown Sugar Shortbread — using only 3 main ingredients!

I’ve made these cookies a LOT. I made them for weddings, for Christmas gifts, and for TV milestone celebrations. They have a wonderful snap, and the brown sugar makes them just a little bit more rich-tasting.

They have a beautiful texture, and a rich caramel-y flavor. I sometimes enhance them with extracts or mix-ins to add to their deliciousness… lemon, almond, lavender anyone? And with only butter, flour and sugar as the fundamental elements, there are no tricky ingredients, so you can always whip up a batch.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

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By Tamara Berg
Prep Time: 10 mins + chilling time Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

These cookies are light, buttery, and have a very slight toffee/caramel flavor, because of the brown sugar. They are a perfect cookie to make in large batches. The dough can be prepared one day and baked another. I often make a double batch and keep one log in my freezer, so I can whip up a sheet of cookies in minutes.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • coarse crystal sugar (optional, adds nice crunch)
  • Flavor options: 1 tsp. Vanilla, Almond or other extract.



Cream butter and brown sugar, add flour, and extract, if using. Mix well.


Divide dough in half, and form each portion into logs, approximately 1-1/2” to 2” in diameter. Roll logs in coarse sugar until coated.


Place logs in freezer for 10 to 30 minutes.  


Preheat oven to 350°


Remove from freezer and cut in ¼” slices.


Bake on un-greased cookie sheet for 15 to 22 minutes (depending on thickness), until just barely brown.  Cool completely on a rack.


Any extract is nice in this recipe. I've used lemon, orange, rum... go crazy! For extra fanciness, custom color your coarse sugars using a post found here.

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