I don’t bake cookies very often. I absolutely love the things, but I just don’t make a ton of them, because then I’d have a few dozen cookies around the house, and that’s not necessarily the type of thing I want in arm’s reach while my gym is still very much in quarantine mode, ya feel me? That being said, life is far too short not to bake cookies every now and again, and so I recently made a few batches of my favorite Brown Sugar Cookie Dough and it was just as perfect as I remember.
This dough makes the BEST cookies. For starters, it’s got dark brown sugar instead of the typical light brown sugar you usually find in cookie dough recipes, and it makes a massive difference, if you ask me. Dark brown sugar has a richer, more complex flavor than light brown sugar, and it really gives these cookies a lil’ something special. In addition to brown sugar, there’s also demerara sugar and white sugar in this recipe, and whenever I start a baking project and there are not one…not two…but three types of sugar involved, I know I’m gonna end up pretty damn happy. There’s also melted butter which, if you know me, you know is part and parcel to pretty much any baking recipe that I come up with. Melted butter creates a bit denser cookie dough than room temp solid butter, which is what you see in a lot of cookie recipes, and ultimately results in a chewier cookie, which is a characteristic I find very, very important in a cookie.
Another aspect of this dough that’s a bit different than other recipes you might have used before is my suggestion to hand mix the dough. It makes for a bit more work than using a hand mixer or stand mixer, but because the butter is melted and not solid, it can be done, and I think it prevents the wet ingredients from getting too fluffy which, again, promotes the all-important cookie chewiness. One again, cookie chewiness is paramount: if my shoulder falls off because I spent five minutes hand-beating cookie dough in pursuit of perfectly chewy cookies, that’s a sacrifice I am willing to make. I will sacrifice my body for chewy cookies.
This dough is adapted from about 5 different cookie recipes that I’ve used in the past – I basically picked apart recipes I found online and in cookbooks, made them, decided what I liked and didn’t, and then figured out whether the parts I liked could all be combined to create a dough that I consider to be perfect. Spoiler alert: they can.
This dough gives you the perfect base to add whatever you like so you can create any kind of cookie you choose – the batch I photographed for this post had a few cups of chopped Daim Bar tossed in, but you could use dark, milk or white chocolate, pretzels, nuts, dried fruit or anything else you can think of. The dough will hold up pretty much anything you can think to add to it. First, you’ll have to make some Brown Sugar Cookie Dough – here’s my recipe to get you going:
Brown Sugar Cookie Dough
- 1 250 g stick unsalted butter melted, but not browned
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup medium brown demerara sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups AP flour sifted
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
Prepare your batter by first whisking or mixing together the sugars and butter in a large mixing bowl.
Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture has lightened to a lighter brown (it will start out very dark due to the dark brown sugar) and gotten slightly fluffier. This takes about 5 minutes of whisking by hand. Note: I like to mix things by hand, when it's possible and won't take forever, so I mix my cookie batter by hand. It takes a bit of extra time and it's definitely a shoulder workout, but I just like to feel the batter as I work with it. If you prefer a stand mixer or hand mixer, that's perfectly fine to use here!
Add the egg and vanilla to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine thoroughly.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in another mixing bowl.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture one-third at a time, whisking after each addition until almost combined.
After adding the last third of the dry ingredients to the batter, use a spoon to stir the batter until you can't see any more white flour.
If you are adding anything to the batter, like chocolate or nuts, add it now. I usually add about 2 cups of whatever I'm adding.
At this point, you're dough has gotta chill. Get uniform-size scoops (I go for golf-ball size balls) on to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stick them in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to overnight. Note: while the dough is chilling, the balls can touch one another (unlike when they're baking, where they need space between them so they can spread out while they cook). Also, the longer you chill the dough, the more intense your cookie flavor will be when they're baked. The dark brown sugar especially lends this batter a deep, rich flavor.
When you're ready to bake, preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 160FAN.
Space your cookies out on parchment-lined baking sheets so that there's plenty of room for them to spread during cooking. I usually only put 6-8 cookies on one sheet at a time, and I bake the cookies in batches. Note: if you bake the cookies too close to one another, they'll come out in wonky shapes because they'll bake into one another, and they also won't bake properly – when you crowd a pan, you create steam, and steam can make things soggy. We don't want soggy cookies.
Bake the cookies for 14 minutes, and enjoy! To store: cool the pan on a wire rack until the cookies are completely cool before storing them in an air tight container.