This is the perfect recipe to have in your back pocket for many of the dessert related situations that can arise. Late to the holiday gifting game? Covered. Guests on their way and you forgot dessert? No problem. Need a sweet treat and don’t want to go to the store? Done.
Just three ingredients (that you very likely have on hand) and a little bit of time is all that separates you from a beautiful tray of fresh brown sugar shortbread cookies.
The three ingredients I speak of? Flour, butter, and brown sugar. That’s it!
Historically, shortbread was made with leftover bread dough, rolled in sugar and spices, and baked at low heat until hardened.
It has a resourceful past, and even though you likely aren’t making these following a big bread baking session, they still are made with pantry staples and for that reason, the resourcefulness lives on.
Tips For Making Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
Keep in mind the butter should be salted, otherwise you’ll need to add a teaspoon of salt to the ingredient list.
Also, if you only have white sugar that works in the place of brown sugar too, though there is something to be said about the molasses sweetness that brown sugar gives this recipe.
To begin, gather your ingredients.
As in all recipes with a shorter ingredient list, it is especially important to use quality products. A good, name-brand butter such as Kerrygold or Tillamook suits this recipe well.
Good butter brings a lovely, flakey crumble that cannot be replaced. These may be called 3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Cookies, but I would argue that butter is the star ingredient.
Next, add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment beat the ingredients until a thick, fluffy mixture forms. This can also be done using a handheld mixer or with your hands.
Add the flour. Mix until just barely combined and a slightly crumbly dough is forming.
On a clean surface dump the mixture out and work it with your hands until it begins to stick together and form a large ball.
Transferring the dough onto a clean sheet of parchment paper, roll the dough out with your hands into a long, round log of dough. If you’d like, you can roll the log in some brown sugar as I have done here.
Next, you can either slice the log into rounds right away or wrap the log in saran wrap and refrigerate for an hour or even overnight.
The dough can also be frozen for up to three months if you are preparing for in the future or like to have an easy treat on hand. If you choose to freeze the dough, place it in the refrigerator the night before baking, or on the countertop a few hours ahead of time.
When ready to bake, slice the whole log into even rounds using a sharp knife.
Place the cookies on a lined cookie tray and bake for 15 or so minutes in a 325-degree oven. The bake time will be longer if you are working with chilled dough. When the cookies are just beginning to brown on the edges pull them out and let them sit on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
And there you have it! A simple, sweet cookie just begging to be had with an afternoon cup of tea.
Optional Mix-Ins For Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
If you feel a little more adventurous you can turn these into 4 or 5 ingredients and make a whole new flavor twist with additions like chopped nuts, sprinkles, lemon zest, dark chocolate, etc.
Or simply add spice such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or a combination. The list of variations is nearly endless.
For the larger add-ins, simply increase your butter by a couple of tablespoons and add your choice of ingredient(s). For the spices or lemon zest, just add them with no other adjustments.
For a holiday-themed cookie, it is fun to split the dough in half and use food coloring to dye half of it red or green. Twist the two sides together to form a two-tone log of dough. Then slice and proceed as directed.
How To Make 3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Cookies
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Step 1: Gather your 3 ingredients.
Step 2: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar until it takes on a fluffy consistency.
Step 3: Add the flour and mix until just starting to come together.
Step 4: Turn the mixture out onto a clean surface and use your hands to work it into one ball.
Step 5: Roll the dough into a log shape, about 12-14 inches long.
Optional: Using parchment paper, roll the log in brown sugar covering the outside.
If refrigerating, cover in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator.
Step 6: When ready to bake, slice the dough into even rounds, about half an inch thick.
Step 7: Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheets.
Step 8: Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown.
Step 9: Serve and enjoy!
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar until it takes on a fluffy consistency.
- Add the flour and mix until just starting to come together.
- Turn the mixture out onto a clean surface and use your hands to work it into one ball.
- Roll the dough into a log shape, about 12-14 inches long.
- (Optional) Using parchment paper, roll the log in brown sugar covering the outside.
- If refrigerating, cover in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- When ready to bake, slice the dough into even rounds, about half an inch thick. Place on the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g
Up Next: Can You Freeze Brown Sugar?