Brown Sugar Christmas Cookies


December 6, 2012 by Meg G.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon!

This week, I have the pleasure of meeting my gorgeous new baby niece – Scarlet Lucy.

Baby girl!

My whole family is out on the west coast enjoying some pre-Christmas joy and eating some delicious food. Yesterday, a few of us lunched at a little seafood restaurant right on Lake Oswego.

Lake Oswego

Last night, all 8.5 of us enjoyed a delicious Italian meal at Enzo’s. Enzo is a lovely man who is from the same region in Italy as my family – Puglia – the back side / heel of the “boot” that runs along the Adriatic sea. Many of the menu items are specialties from the area. I had the Pesto di Lecce Orignale, which is penne served with fried potatoes, fresh tomatoes, and a rich pesto that is made with a touch of cream. Yum!

I know, I know – “Get to the cookies, already!”

Before I left the east coast, I wanted to use up the rest of the royal icing from my last batch of cookies.  So I decided to make Sweet Sugarbelle’s brown sugar roll-out cookies and get my Christmas cookie on. Unlike her regular sugar cookies, this recipe does require that the dough be refrigerated for a bit, so plan accordingly. Here goes!

Brown Sugar Roll-Outs (makes 2 1/2 dozen)


  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. milk, half and half, or orange juice (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tsp. extract or emulsion (I used orange and vanilla)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • dash ground cloves



  1. In your standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, extract, and milk/orange juice. Add liquid ingredients to the mixer and mix until fluffy.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients and add a cup at a time until all of the dry mixture is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it’s sticky, add flour little by little until it isn’t. I wound up adding a good bit more flour here.
  4. Divide dough into three parts, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into shapes, dusting lightly with flour as needed.
  6. Bake 375F for 8-10 minutes until tops are not shiny. My oven is freakishly fast, so I wound up baking them only 4-5 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie.

Gingerbread person


Gingerbread People

The flavor of these cookies is like a very subtle gingerbread with a dose of orange. I think they’re a really nice complement to the standard sugar cookie, because they’re a little less straight-up-sugary, but they can also be festively decorated.


Christmas cookies

Confession: I also stole this holly-cookie-out-of-a-maple-leaf-cutter from the one and only Sweet Sugarbelle. Hers look AMAZING! My royal icing was clearly too thin (and therefore not a perfect outline) at that point, so I think they will be better next time with a little adjustment.

Plate of cookies


I’m super excited to make these again this holiday season! And of course, I brought a bunch of them with me to share with my family after dinner tonight. Enjoy!

5 thoughts on “Brown Sugar Christmas Cookies

  1. […] be a holiday without some decorated sugar cookies! This year, I went with Sugarbelle’s brown sugar recipe and tried my hand at some turkey heads (inspired by the Bearfoot Baker). […]

  2. Lindsey says:

    These look wonderful and delicious! I think they’ll be a must-try this year!

  3. Jessica says:

    Question, Meg: do these taste like gingerbread cookies?
    I can’t get over how neatly you decorate! I hate that part, probably because mine never look as good as yours!

    • They taste more orange than gingerbread (from the extract). I’m not a gingerbread expert, but I think that gingerbread usually has molasses in it (although white sugar + molasses = brown sugar, so maybe that doesn’t matter). My family really liked the orange flavor. It’s subtle, but perky. If you just did vanilla extract and upped the spices, it might be more gingerbread-y. As for the decorating, that just takes practice! Go look at my first chemistry cookies and you’ll see what a difference a few batches make!

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