One Bowl, Three-Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread

The circumstances are inevitable. You’re on the couch, lazing, when the irresistible urge for something sweet surfaces—cookies? Cupcakes? You check the fridge—no eggs. The pantry? No chocolate chips, no cocoa powder, no oats. When you’re short on ingredients—and space—few recipes fit the bill like those for shortbread. Slightly sweet and irresistibly savory, these brown sugar shortbread cookies are a cinch to pull together.


Brown Sugar Shortbread, adapted from this recipe.

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened

In a mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar and butter until creamy. Add flour, slowly stirring until ingredients are combined and dough is crumbly. Press dough into an ungreased 8 x 8 pan and bake at 300° for 30 to 35 minutes, or until slightly browned. Cut into bars. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

While this basic brown sugar shortbread is delicious on its own, I added ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ cup chopped pecans because I had some nuts lying around that I wanted to use up. One of the best things about this basic recipe is that it is entirely customizable to what you’re craving and what you have on hand. Prefer a more traditional shortbread? Substitute white sugar for the brown sugar. Add almond, vanilla, or orange extract to give the shortbread a subtle hint of interesting flavor. Craving chocolate? Add chocolate chips or mini M&Ms to the dough before pressing it into the pan. The possibilities are endless.

In addition to being entirely customizable, the recipe’s measurements are easily adaptable to the amount of shortbread you want. Double the recipe (and bake in a 9×13 pan) if friends are coming over; halve it—or not, I won’t tell—if it’s just you.

(Hint: For single serving sizes, use tablespoons and teaspoons to get the correct amount of ingredients. 1 cup = 16 tbsp., 1/6 cup = 2 tablespoons, 2 teaspoons. , 1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons, etc.)


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