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3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

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These 3 ingredient brown sugar shortbread cookies are so rich and buttery, they literally melt in your mouth! You won’t believe how easy it is to make them! With just three ingredients, you’ll have a tasty treat in no time. So gather up your supplies and let’s get started!

Brown sugar makes these cookies deeper in flavor, and so hard to resist!

3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Cookies - Stacked with a bottle of milk

Why you will love these brown sugar cookies

  • They are made from just 3 ingredients – all regular pantry staples.
  • Rich and buttery.
  • The deep, rich flavor from the brown sugar.
  • Melt-in-the-mouth decadent treat!
  • Very easy to make
  • Egg-free
  • Just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Nut Free and Egg Free

What is shortbread?

Shortbread is a traditional Scottish biscuit, that is made with just flour, sugar, and butter. It is a very rich and crumbly cookie. You do not need any leavening agent like baking soda or baking powder. It is probably called so because of its crumbly texture due to the higher fat ratio.

Ingredients required To Make Shortbread Brown Sugar Cookies

Butter – Bring the butter to room temperature. Butter at room temperature will whisk better with sugar.

I have gone a step further and softened it (not melted) in the microwave. For a vegan option, use non-dairy, plant-based options which are made with oil and water.

Brown Sugar – Brown sugar contains molasses and will add a richer, deeper flavor with more moisture. I have used dark brown sugar for this recipe.

For lower-carb shortbread cookies: If using Erythritol, add 3/4 cup rather than 1/2 cup of sugar. Erythritol is slightly less sweet than sugar. If possible use brown Erythritol.

Flour: You need regular all-purpose flour (not self-raising flour). Do not use high-protein bread flour as it may affect the crumbly texture of these cookies. Use the spoon and level method to ensure you are using the correct amount of flour.

Step-By-Step Instructions To Make 3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

These are some of the utensils and tools commonly used for baking. I like to gather them and organize my benchtop to make the workflow easier.

Utensils and tools for baking
Utensils and tools for baking

baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper)

1. Prepare The Baking Tray:

Line a baking tray with parchment paper (baking paper) and preheat your oven. The oven temperature should be 356 F / 180 C

2. Soften The Butter:

If your butter is not already soft, soften it in the microwave. This will make it easier to cream it with sugar.

Butter and sugar for 3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
Cream butter and sugar for shortbread

3. Butter and Sugar:

In a large bowl, add the softened butter and granulated white sugar.

4. Keep whisking:

With an electric whisk (or stand mixer), cream butter and sugar. At first, it will be lumpy and grainy. Keep mixing till it becomes lighter in color and fluffier in texture.

Mix flour for making 3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies dough
Make dough for 3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

5. Add The Dry Ingredients:

Now add flour, salt, and baking powder. Fold in with a spatula or a wooden spoon gently till all ingredients are mixed well, and you are left with a homogenous dough. Do not use the whisk for this process as you could overwork the dough. Overworking dough can activate the gluten, which is great for other products like bread, but not for cookies.

Cookie dough is now ready to roll
Roll the cookie dough

6. Make the dough

Gently knead the dough till it comes together into one large smooth lump. You can do this in the bowl, or on a clean surface.

Plastic wrap to cover shortbread cookie dough
Slicing cookie dough to bake3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

7. Make a dough roll and chill

Make a long roll with your hands. If the roll is too long, slice it into two. Cover the dough rolls with plastic wrap, and chill for about 1 hour.

8. Cut out the cookies

Once chilled, discard the cling wrap, and slice the dough into discs with a sharp knife – about 1/4 inch thick. You do not have to bring it back to room temperature.

Chilling the dough also prevents the cookies from spreading too much.

3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies on a baking tray
3-ingredient brown sugar shortbread cookies

9. Arrange and Bake Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Arrange the dough discs on the baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes at 356F / 180C. The bake time will depend on how powerful your oven is. Keep an eye on around 15-18 minutes to make sure your shortbread cookies are not browned.

10. Remove and Cool

The cookies should look very light golden, and not browned. Remove the baking tray from the oven, and let the cookies sit for 5 minutes.

11. Store

With a spatula, place the cookies on a wire rack and let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

Frequently Asked Questions About 3 ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Which is better – White Sugar vs Brown Sugar for Shortbread Cookies?

White granulated sugar or powdered sugar will make the cookies melt-in-the-mouth soft.

Brown sugar contains molasses and will add a richer, deeper flavor with more moisture.

I have used dark brown sugar for this recipe for its deeper flavor.

Can I use Erythritol or Monkfruit?

For lower-carb shortbread cookies: If using Erythritol, add 3/4 cup rather than 1/2 cup of sugar. Erythritol is less sweet than sugar. If possible use brown Erythritol.

What is the difference between shortbread and sugar cookies?

Both shortbread and sugar cookies are not supposed to spread. The difference is that sugar cookies use eggs, while shortbread doesn’t.

Can I freeze these brown sugar shortbread cookies?

Yes, absolutely. Cool your cookies completely on the wire rack, and place them in a freezer-safe airtight container for 2-3 months. Bring them back to room temperature before serving.

3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

Why freeze cookie dough?

Freezing cookie dough is a great way to always have freshly baked cookies on demand without the prep work. In fact, I like to scale up the recipe.

They are a good addition to your freezer to have on hand for school treats, gifting to a friend who is not feeling too well, impromptu tea parties, and those sudden cookie emergencies which can come up anytime.

Can I freeze this shortbread dough?

Yes! Either freeze the entire roll or cut small biscuits and freeze them on a tray. Once frozen, you can add them to a freezer-safe container and freeze them for a month.

Scaling Up The Recipe

To scale up, this chocolate chip cookie recipe, just use the toggle on the recipe card to adjust quantities.

Once the cookie dough balls have frozen, put them in a freezer bag and store them. Label the bag with the date of storage, and use it within 3 months.

Do not lump together cookie dough balls without freezing them first as they will stick together making one giant lump.

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brown sugar cookies shortbread on marble

3 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Buttery shortbread recipe with just 3 ingredients.
5 from 26 votes (Click on the stars to vote!)
Print Pin Rate
Course: baked goods, Dessert, lunch box, snacks
Cuisine: American, Scottish
Keyword: 3 ingredient brown sugar cookie, 3 ingredient brown sugar cookies
Categories: baked, christmas, desserts, easter, easy desserts, oven,
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies
Calories: 88kcal

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Baking Tray (lined with parchment paper or silicone mat)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Salted Butter (1 cup butter = 8 ounces or 240 grams)
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2.5 Cups All Purpose Flour

Instructions

  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper/baking paper or a silicone mat.
  • Preheat oven to 356 F / 180 C
  • In a large bowl, add butter and sugar.
  • With a benchtop or handheld whisk, cream the butter and sugar together till lighter in color and fluffier in texture.
  • Add flour and mix well with a spatula.
  • Gently knead the dough till it comes together into one large smooth lump. You can do this in the bowl, or on a clean surface.
  • Roll the dough onto a long roll.
  • Cling wrap the dough roll, and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Once chilled, discard the cling wrap, and slice the dough into discs – about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Place the dough disks on the prepared baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • The cookies should look very light golden, and not browned.
  • Remove the baking tray from the oven, and let the cookies sit for 5 minutes.
  • With a spatula, carefully place the cookies on a cooling rack and let them cool completely before storage.

Notes

  1. If the cookie roll is too long, cut it into two rolls for easy wrapping and storage. 

Nutrition

Calories: 88kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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Nutritional Panel: Our nutritional values are calculated by Spooncular API. While we try our best to ensure these values are correct, please confirm these independently.

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