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Cook's Illustrated Brown Sugar Cookies


Makes approximately 24 cookies


  • 1-3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (1-3/4 ounces)
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar (14 ounces), divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (10-1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Step 1: Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter to melt; set aside for 15 minutes.
Step 2: Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large (18 by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Step 3: In shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, rubbing between fingers, until well combined; set aside. 
Step 4: Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in medium bowl; set aside.
Step 5: Add remaining 1-3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter; mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
Step 6: Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. 
Step 7: Add flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
Step 8: Divide dough into 24 portions, each about 2 tablespoons, rolling between hands into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Working in batches, toss balls in reserved sugar mixture to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 12 dough balls per sheet. 
Step 9: Bake until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not over bake.
Step 10: Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.


What an amazing looking cookie! And with browned butter. I've read about that method and am anxious to try it. Thank you for sharing.

Thanks, my friend Theresa and I made these together. She actually did the browned butter part of the recipe. The best way I can describe it is that it's kind of like melting sugar for caramel, one second too long and you've burnt your butter. There's no sleeping at the stove when you are trying to brown butter.

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