Brown Sugar Cookies Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Brown Sugar Cookies

11 reviews / 3.9 average

I just applied for my Masters program.

Then I ate five brown sugar cookies to dull the pain.

But the pain is still there. Ouchie.

No matter how I feel about becoming a better reading teacher for K-12 (which happens to be awesome), I do not feel awesome about going back to school. How did this happen?! I thought I was done. Sob.

Brown sugar cookies on a white napkin.

But I also thought I didn't like sugar cookies. And things turned out alright.

Would this be a good time for a confession? I just really don't love sugar cookies of the frosted cut out Santa, snowflake, or Christmas tree variety. I just can't seem to crave them with the same passion that I crave holiday Minty Chocolate Truffles or Salty Toffee.

Then, I made these brown sugar cookies. After giving permission for Bjork to eat 2 heaping spoonfuls of the dough, and giving permission for myself to eat unlimited dough, I sat by the fire sipping hot chocolate and eating a perfectly lightly crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside cookie glittering with sugar crystals. And I felt happier than a pug in a rug.

That was all before I applied for my Master's degree. Er, program. Whatever. It's all just a blur after that.

If I may boss you around for a moment, it's time for you to make these cookies right now. They remind me of a cross between a classic sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle without the spices. They have a warm buttery flavor with an out-of-this-world light, soft yet lightly crispy buttery texture. I love butter.

And can I just say two very important words to you right now? AMAZING. DOUGH.

You know what to do. Go.

Brown sugar cookies stacked on each other on a white napkin.
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A picture of <span class="fn">Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies


These simple brown sugar cookies are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. A favorite recipe from a family friend who is a caterer!


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • sugar for rolling


  1. Cream sugars and shortening. Mix in the egg, then add dry ingredients.
  2. Use a cookie scoop to form nice round balls and roll each dough ball in white sugar. Don't flatten.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.


My favorite time to eat them was 1) before they were baked, and 2) immediately after they were baked. For better or worse, after a few hours they will become more crispy, like a traditional sugar cookie.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: brown sugar cookies, cookie recipe, sugar cookie

This recipe comes from a good family friend, Vicki, who owns and operates a catering business with her husband. Basically anything she makes turns to edible gold. She's the real deal.

Maybe I should pursue a Masters in catering. With a specialty in brown sugar cookies.

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      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Mine came out flat also. I was so excited because your chocolate chip recipe is delicious my expectations are way too high

      2. Skillful Cook Logo

        If your cookies are too runny & flat, add more flour to the mixture. Be sure to use brown sugar, and the darker brown sugar makes a softer cookie. My recipe calls for sour milk.

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I LOVE, love, love, sugar cookies – of all kinds. And I love snickerdoodles. You just tapped into a gargantuan weak spot here. I’m still debating about what to bake for Christmas goodies. . . . that’s bad, right? Little behind the ball, but, that’s me. . . . 😉
    I like the “pug in a rug” reference. Are you getting a pug for Christmas??

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats (or I’m sorry) for applying, haha. Good luck with that! I think you did the right thing by eating five cookies. I’m not much for the frosted cut out sugar cookies either but these look different and better. Can’t wait to try!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I am in love with brown sugar. Grainy, sweet, crumbly, and just the right amount of sticky… ahhh.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yum! Yum!

    And I’ll use your words to describe what you should do about your Master’s- ” You know what to do. Go”


    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Good for you! I’m just using that mantra for the cookies. 🙂 Are you thinking about pursuing your Masters, too?

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats on your decision to go back to school!! Lindsay, you rock. 🙂 You will be great and will be blessed for your determination and hard work. And just think of all the stress baking you can do! 😉 xoxo

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats on applying for your master’s program! I’m thinking I’ll be doing a lot of baking (and dough-eating-justification) like this when I apply for mine. 🙂 These cookies look like perfection!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats on applying for your master’s! I know how you feel- after I turned in my apps for my doctoral program I had a moment of “what the hell did I just do” and unfortunately, I did not have these beautiful cookies to console me!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Doctoral program? oh my goodness. You deserve at least 3 batches of these cookies.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      lol… so does Bjork, as evidenced by the tube of refrigerated cookie dough that he is currently finishing off.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m in my first semester of my (early childhood ed) Master’s and – believe it or not – its pretty great! It’s MUCH better and more interesting to take classes about things you’re actually interested in/are relevant to your life. You can do it!!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love brown sugar cookies…but am not a huge sugar cookie gal either. The thought of these by the fire is making me happy…and jealous of your fireplace! Congrats on applying for your master’s program! I began mine last summer…and had graduated 4 years before. It’s definitely a tricky transition. I ended up deciding to only take summer classes. Somethings should be a process. I think I used finances as an excuse. Whoops?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I may end up doing the same. We’ll see how long I can last as both a teacher and a student…

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congratulations on signing up for your master’s! It’ll all be worth it when you’re finished! I hated getting mine but it was well worth it when I was able to learn more about becoming a better teacher and the pay bump didn’t hurt either! You can do it!

    And these cookies…. they speak to my heart… or is my belly? I don’t know but I’m making them because I love sugar cookies!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Good for you! I’m guess I’m just going to keep my eyes on the finish line to keep me motivated…

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Going back to school is SO fun, you’ll love it 🙂 I love being “old” in undergrad at 27…the years of working somehow put schoolwork in much better perspective, and you’ll have somehow grown smarter without even having realized. Also, brown sugar is my bath salt. Or sugar. That is to say, I love it.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks! We’ll see if I actually deserve the congratulations or not once things get going…

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh wow, these are like little pillows of heaven. And so simple to make. Definitely my kind of cookie. Thanks for the great recipe and good luck with your going back to school to get your master’s. Always a fun process when you’ve been out of the loop for awhile 🙂