Cookies and Bars

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple, almost paleo recipe that includes shredded coconut, whole almonds and almond butter, vegan chocolate chips or chunks. This is a great healthy almost clean baking cookie for special diets that you can make. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

This is a public service announcement to all readers of this blog: I am no longer cool. Though I’m not sure when it happened, I can confidently express to you, with little qualm or uncertainty, that I have officially lost the cool factor. 

One could argue here that I never really was cool, and to be honest, this is entirely possible. After all, how cool could my former bench-warming, unibrow-having, choreographed-dancing self actually have been? Regardless, I am 100% positive that I am officially out of the loop.

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

I gauge most of my coolness against my sister. At 15 years old (that makes me 13 years her senior?!?), my sister, Cheney, dances circles around whatever level of awesome I once thought I had. What she lacks in years she makes up for in a kindness, wit, and strong will that suggests her world view and degree of wisdom is not limited by her numerical age.Within the past few months, Cheney has taught me how to use Snapchat, kept me posted on the Tayvin/Caylor ship, explained to me what “shipping” even is, and helped me navigate the murky waters of shoulderless shirts. On top of that, this chick is well versed in Star Wars trivia, knows every lyric to the “Grease” soundtrack, and has a collection of Kate Spade handbags that this mama is jealous of daily. She’s just so cool. 

These days, teenagers are growing up in an age full of vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and everything-in-between food products. My sister can eat gourmet popcorn and avocado toast with the best of them, and she has definitely taste tested her fair share of kombucha and acai bowls.  Me? I grew up on tub margarine and Yoo-Hoo, and had to Google the spelling of kombucha just a second ago, so that’s pretty much the level I’m at.

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

A few months ago, Cheney came to me professing to have found the best paleo chocolate chip cookies, and I was pretty interested. Not because I’m anywhere close to being a clean eater (I wouldn’t know a good paleo cookie if it sat on my face), but because I strictly adhere to the “No Cookie Left Behind” mantra. So we baked.

The results were surprisingly delicious. My husband, even less educated in the food realm than I, said that they “didn’t taste like a healthy cookie” which is code for “these cookies are awesome!” I’ve since made the paleo chocolate chip cookies for some of my foodie friends and they all had similar responses. 

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

 

The recipe I’m sharing today, coconut almond chocolate cookies, is a spin off of that recipe. You can certainly modify the ingredients slightly to meet your dietary restrictions, but I feel pretty good about eating these bad boys even if they’re not perfectly paleo. The chopped almonds and shredded coconut add an incredible amount of texture to every bite of this sweet and rich chocolate cookie. The coconut oil and unique blend of flours keep these cookies moist and almost cake-like for days after baking, and because the ingredients are less processed than most, I feel pretty good about downing one or two with my morning coffee at breakfast.

To summarize this blog post, I will say the following: I am not cool, my sister is rad, and coconut almond chocolate cookies are pretty much manna from heaven. I’ve got a long way to go in becoming even an ounce as awesome as my worldly little sis, but I’ll work my way there one cookie at a time if I have to. Give these little treats a try and let me know how you like them!

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

PS, can we talk about Aimee’s chubby little arms and knee rolls!? Drool.

 

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Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut almond chocolate cookies are moist cookies that can easily be adapted to meet a range of dietary preferences.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (use dairy free chips, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup of almonds, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the almond butter and beat for another minute. Add the extracts and egg and beat for one minute, scraping the bowl as needed. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and almonds.
  4. Scoop out 2 tablespoon sized balls of dough on to a parchment or baking mat lined sheet pan. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies no longer appear wet in the middle. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

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Recipe Adapted From: Texanerin

Lemon Lavender Cookies

Lemon Lavender Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. Just a few ingredients, lemon zest, sugar, and dried culinary lavender is all it takes to make this simple powdered sugar covered cookies. Similar to mexican wedding cookies. Makes tiny mini cookies. Floral and fragrant. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

I should start this post with a disclaimer: I love my husband.

If you know Brett, take this time to jot a mental list of his lovable, noteworthy qualities– there’s plenty to boast of. If you don’t know my husband, let me give you the CliffsNotes version: he’s hardworking, funny, incredibly personable, and at an age that I jokingly describe as “halfway to 70”, he’s got muscles that laugh at any notion of a “Dad Bod”. My husband is pretty much the tops and I wouldn’t trade him for a million Ryan Reynolds (and that’s a huge deal, am I right, ladies??)

Lemon Lavender Cookies Recipe

With all that being said, Brett and I have a clear understanding that if, in a tragic twist of fate, Brett is no longer my husband, I will re-marry a Frenchman. Unabashedly, I will take our children, move to France, and marry the first God-fearing, chateau-living, beret-wearing Frenchman that I can find. I have no shame in saying this and Brett is fully aware of my intentions, as we have outlined them in a Sheldon Cooper-esque clause of our unspoken relationship agreement.

For years, I have had a love and admiration for French culture. I love the art, the buildings, the delicately perfect desserts, and the flowery sound of the language. I love the way I feel in Paris and my memories from my visits there are some of my favorite that I have. Yes, my mind is made up and it’s settled: If I’m every unfortunate enough to find myself without Brett, I will find myself in France.

Lemon Lavender Cookies Recipe

 

These lemon lavender cookies remind me of my imaginary life in France. Dainty, buttery, little bite-sized chews of lavender scented lemon cookies taste like the air smells in Provence and make me feel like I’m maybe doing something that Julia Child did in her kitchen. The recipe is a variation of my crispy butter pecan cookies, however, without the nuts, these cookies remain soft and chewy. With only 6 ingredients and 10 minutes of bake time, these lemon lavender cookies are a cinch to whip up. These bite-sized cookies taste delicious as a treat to pair with morning coffee, afternoon tea, or an evening glass of bubbly champagne. 

While lemon lavender cookies don’t taste nearly as good as being married to my husband feels, I’ll take 2 or 10 of these cookies as a little bite of France any day of the week. And in the meantime, I’ll settle for French braids, fries, and kisses. 

Lemon Lavender Cookies Recipe

 

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Lemon Lavender Cookies

These lemon lavender cookies are buttery and floral bite-sized cookies that bake up quick and taste delicious!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Additional confectioners sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put butter into a food processor, mini chopper, or stand mixer and process until smooth. Add sugar and pulse until combined and smooth. Add the zest, lavender, and salt, pulsing to combine. Finally, add the flour and pulse just until flour is barely integrated and dough forms big crumbles.
  3. Scoop 2 teaspoons sized balls of dough (I use a small cookie scoop) out on to a baking sheet covered with parchment or a Silpat. Roll dough in between hands to make small rounds. The dough will be pretty dry, this is normal.
  4. Bake for about 11 minutes or until cookies’ edges set and the bottoms are golden brown. Be careful when handling!
  5. Once cooled, dust or toss cookies in a generous amount of powdered sugar.

Notes

  • These cookies are tiny and are best eaten the day of.
  • Feel free to double the batch! It makes just a few cookies.

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Oatmeal Cookies

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple stuffed oatmeal cookies loaded with your choice of ingredients. Chunky oats, chocolate chips. dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, or even candies, toffee, or nuts! These oatmeal cookies are simple to make, buttery, and full of brown sugar goodness. You can freeze as well! Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

There’s something about eating oatmeal cookies that makes me think of breakfast. Maybe it’s years of oatmeal with sliced banana and honey for breakfast or dried fruit and oat topped yogurt snacks, but I tell ya what- oatmeal cookies have got me thinking, “man, this dessert feels pretty healthy.”

Yeah, yeah. I know. Wishful thinking. You can’t blame me for trying.

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

I have yet to come to a firm stance on my oatmeal cookie preference. Thin and crisp? Puffy and cake-like? Buttery, crisp edges with a chewy center? The jury is still out on this one, but one thing I do know is that I like my oatmeal cookies fully loaded. If someone created the cookie equivalent to the everything bagel, I would buy and consume them er’ryday. Dried fruit, chocolate chips, a browned butter drizzle… really, just feel free to have your way with my oatmeal cookie. The more the merrier.

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are a toned down version of my ultimate fantasy, maxed out, loaded oatmeal cookie, mainly because I know my husband would be ultra-grossed out by any cookie with a dried fruit to cookie dough ratio any greater than 1:1, but this oatmeal cookie also boasts a super chewy texture alllllll the way through, and enough of a variety of add-ins that nearly every bite is a bit different. They’re also super adaptable in that you can mix and match your add-ins according to your preferences. Don’t like dried cranberries? No problem- try apricots! Want to pack a nutty punch? Sub in chopped pecans or peanut butter chips! This oatmeal cookie is pretty much your oyster, so do as you please with it.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! If anyone has any extra luck with a certain flavor combo, give me the dirty deets below in the comments!

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

 

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Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy oatmeal cookies filled to brim with craisins, toffee bits, and chocolate chips.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cups quick-cook oatmeal
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 11/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs and beat again for another 4 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Add buttermilk and vanilla, mixing until combined and scraping the bowl as needed.
  5. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cornstarch, baking powder, and oatmeal in a separate bowl. Add to the butter mixture and stir on low until just barely combined. Do not over-mix.
  6. Fold in the craisins, chocolate chips, and toffee bits until well combined.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, portion out 3 tablespoon mounds of dough on to a heavy-bottomed baking sheet. Keep dough balls at least 2 inches apart.
  8. Place in the freezer to chill for 3-4 minutes. Alternatively, you can put the entirety of the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.
  9. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside and barely set on the inside.
  10. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Notes

  • This is a highly adaptable recipe. You can sub in your favorite chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit easily.
  • Be sure butter is room temp and not too soft or hard out of the refrigerator.

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Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies

Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a layered dessert made in a sheet pan. A salty pretzel shortbread crust with butter and brown sugar. There is a soft and creamy peanut butter cup filling. The whole thing is topped with a chocolate chip brownie made from melted chocolate bars and chips. Adapted from ina garten's brownie recipe. This serves a crowd and is great for a party barbecue or gathering. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

This past weekend, I traveled to Orlando to visit family one last time before I’m due to crank out this baby. At 33 weeks pregnant, waddling around the airport with a wiggly toddler and a carry-on bag full of snacks, diapers, and a well worn copy of “Goodnight Moon” made me a sight to see. By the time we arrived to the sunshine state, Aimee was covered in Goldfish crumbs and chocolate, I was covered in Aimee’s Goldfish/chocolate drool, and we both were in desperate need of a little personal space.

Winding down the last few weeks of pregnancy is a lot like the last couple weeks of school before summer break. I have a never-ending checklist of things to do, things to buy, things to make, and things to wrap up. Baby items to purchase, baby room decor to hang, and a baby quilt to finish sewing. Recipes to test, blog posts to write, photos to take, and groceries to buy. Start a load of wash, make dinner, go to the grocery store again, and do more wash. Feed toddler, bathe toddler, play with toddler, change toddler’s diaper. Go to work, work out, go pee for the millionth time, and try to remember to shave legs/ bathe/ put on deodorant sometime before my husband comes home.

Never. Ending.

Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie

Meanwhile, my pregnancy app on my phone keeps saying, “Relax! Put your feet up! Pamper yourself! You’re glowing!”

What? Is that supposed to be a joke? Ain’t nobody got time for that. And if by “glowing”, you mean “sweating like a pig” then OK, yes, you’re right.
 
My hand is tempted to write that being a mom or being pregnant is hard work because those are two incredibly true statements, but really what it boils down to is that being a grown up is tough stuff. People expect things of us, we expect things of ourselves, and with a to-do list longer than the Mississippi River, it’s easy to get bogged down. There’s no pause button, much less a rewind option, and life can sometimes just wear us in ways that affect us from the inside to the out. 
 
If you’re experiencing even a taste of this nowadays, take heart, because you are not alone. If you’re feeling behind on your check list, or even behind on life in general, you are not alone. Life is beautiful, but it’s also hard work and I think that sometimes we need to be okay with being a little bit of a mess. And when things get to feeling out of control, out of order, or out of service, we may just need to stop the grind and go back to what makes us happy for minute.
 
Kinda like these pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies. Admittedly, these brownies will not help me fold another load of wash or soothe a crying baby or make my to-do list one inch shorter. But baking these buttery, fudgy, little bars of goodness and eating their warm crumbs straight from the pan alongside a big glass of milk feels a lot like a big hug from life. Some days, that’s just what we need.
 Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie
So let’s break down these bars. We have a pretzel shortbread crust and a peanut butter cup filling, all topped with a dark, rich brownie and an extra sprinkling of chocolate chips. The shortbread is modified from my brown sugar shortbread cookies and the brownies are adapted from Ina Garten’s outrageous brownie recipe. The peanut butter filling tastes a lot like the inside of a Reese’s cup mixed with a little fairy dust and tiny food angels, which I think is pretty much the same thing as being next level delicious. Plus, this recipe makes a substantial batch of pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies which makes it a shoo-in recipe for parties, a crowd, or even just a quiet weekend at home alone after a really hard week. The whole recipe can be whipped up in a food processor which makes cleanup a whole lot more simple than most other layered desserts.
 
Give pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies a try and then just give yourself a mental pat on the back. You probably deserve both. 
 Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie
 
 
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Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies

This bar has three layers that consist of a pretzel shortbread crust, a creamy peanut butter cup filling, and a rich, chocolate brownie on top. They are sweet, salty, decadent, and everything in between.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Scale

For the pretzel shortbread

  • 4 ounces (about 2 cups) salted pretzel crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter

For the peanut butter filling

  • 3/4 cup of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 11/4 cup confectioners sugar

For the brownie

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of mini chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (15″x10″x1″) with parchment paper and spray the sides with baking spray.
  2. In a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, prep the brownies. Cut up butter and chocolate into small pieces and places these in the bowl, allowing to melt while you prepare the other layers of this bar. Be sure to check in on it every couple minutes or so, stirring as needed. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Keep on the stovetop only as long as the chocolate and butter is continuing to melt.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse pretzel crumbs until they are the consistency of sand. Add the flour, brown sugar, and salt, pulsing briefly to combine. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and pulse the food processor until a dry, crumbly dough comes together. This took about 1 minute of pulsing on my machine.
  4. Pat the dough out into the prepared jelly roll pan and bake in the oven for ten minutes.
  5. While pretzel shortbread is in the oven and the chocolate and butter is melting on the stovetop, combine the peanut butter and milk in the same bowl of your food processor. (It’s not necessary to wash it out yet- hooray!) Whiz in the food processor until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners sugar and pulse until thick, dry clumps come together. This mixture will appear similar to the inside of a peanut butter cup. Set aside in another bowl.
  6. Back in the same food processor bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, and sugar for your brownie layer. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and pulse to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and mix just until combined. Remove from machine and stir half of the chocolate chips in by hand.
  7. Sprinkle clumps of the peanut butter filling evenly over the top of the shortbread crust. Pour the brownie batter over top of the shortbread and peanut butter clumps and smooth out evenly in the pan. Your pan will be full. Sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, carefully rap the pan on the rack of the oven several times to help air to escape the pan. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out with barely moist clumps on it. Do not overbake.
  9. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes and then cool completely in the fridge before slicing.

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Crispy Butter Pecan Cookies

Crispy Butter Pecan Cookies Recipe by The wood and spoon blog by kate wood. These are tiny, mini buttery butter pecan cookies that require just a few minutes to make. These crisp cookies are almost like famous amos cookies and are inspired by Gmomma's cookies. Tiny chopped pecans, sugar, and flour are among the few ingredients here. Find the how to for these small cookies on thewoodandspoon.com

I’ve reached the point of my pregnancy where I think my husband is becoming a bit concerned. Just the other day, he looked at me and said, “Why don’t you go take a shower… or cry… or do whatever you need to do. I’ll take care of Aimee for the rest of the night.” Catching my reflection in the mirror validated his voiced concerns- I looked greasy, tired, and a few minutes shy of a breakdown. So I got in the shower to a soak a bit, and in those minutes of quiet, I dreamed up today’s recipe: crispy butter pecan cookies.

Crispy Butter Pecan Cookies

Now, please don’t mistake my momentary exhaustion for a lack of gratitude. Even on the longest days and most sleepless of nights, I wouldn’t trade the hand I’ve been dealt for anything. It’s in those darkest hours of the night, sitting in the rocking chair in the corner of the nursery, when my big girl is sleeping soundly in my lap and I can feel the rolling movements of my baby boy underneath my skin, that the weight of God’s blessing in my life is almost more than I can bear. There is nothing I could ever do in my lifetime to earn this honor. This duty of motherhood, the title and tasks I wear some days as if it were a dried up milk stain on a favorite silk blouse, is a badge of undeserved love stamped on my life. It’s evidence of one million things I have to give thanks for. Someone, please, in a few months from now when I sit in that same nursery sleeplessly nursing, changing, and consoling the new baby we’re waiting for, remind me that this is a gifted treasure, not a burden to bear.

On that note, remind me also of these crispy butter pecan cookies.

Crispy Butter Pecan Cookies

There’s a lot to love about these little buddies- they’re buttery, crisp, and perfect with a cup of coffee- but they also contain only 5 ingredients and take only 20 minutes to make. If that doesn’t sound perfect for a busy mom’s schedule, I don’t know what does. The inspiration for these cookies came from my hometown hero, GMommas Cookies. OK, so I know I’ve already mentioned them more than a few times like here and here. But why mess with a good thing? These petite, bite-sized cookies are crisp all the way through and have a pronounced, real butter flavor that I have yet to find in many other recipes. Plus, as the cookies bake, the pecans become toasty and nutty and all together decadent.

Yeah, I know. Your mouth is watering. So do yourself a favor and next time you have a spare 20 minutes, grab a glass of milk and a handful of these crispy butter pecan cookies.

On second thought, grab two handfuls. You’re welcome.

Crispy Butter Pecan Cookies

 

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Crispy Butter Pecan Cookies

These crispy butter pecan cookies are delicate, nutty, butter-packed, bite-sized morsels of nutty deliciousness. You cannot eat just one.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 72 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature, but not too soft
  • 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup of finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, chopped peans, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and mix just until combined.
  5. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop out 1 teaspoon balls of dough. For uniform cookies, gently and quickly roll each mound of dough into a ball.
  6. Bake 13-18 minutes, or until cookies are fragrant, barely set, and browning on the bottom. Allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

Notes

  • These cookies are mini! So while one batch makes 72, trust me- you’ll be glad you have extras.

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Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog BY Kate Wood. This is a simple crumbly butter cookie inspired by Emeril Lagasse brown sugar shortbread bars. Buttery cutout shortbread cookies that can be slice and make. Drizzle with chocolate or sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Find the simple, easy, few ingredient recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

My husband says I have a Type A personality. While I would suggest that I’m somewhere between a Type A and Type B personality, I do see some inclinations that support his thinking. Time urgency, impatience, and a short-fused temper are all tendencies that I wear frequently like a behavioral scarlet letter, however, this is often offset by a sprinkling of Type B attributes.

One area I typically lean a little Type A heavy? Decluttering.

I love a good clean-out. I love a freshly organized drawer. I love a trip to Goodwill with a car full of stuff. It’s kinda like when you get a new manicure or like that first day of school when you get to crack open that box of pens and write for the first time in a crisp, new notebook. It’s a new lease on life!

Over Christmas, my friend Jesse told me about a book by Marie Kondo, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Curious, I purchased a copy, and after a fairly substantial skim of the book, I was in. I drank the Kondo Kool-Aid. The next day, I began to tidy.

To say that this method of cleaning was life-altering is an understatement. Whole-heartedly, unabashedly, I will tell you that this book has changed my home and life, maybe forever.

Kondo’s method of “tidying” (or as I would describe it, total-home overhauling) is a systematic process of sorting through categories of items in your home by discarding any belongings that don’t spark joy. Yes, I actually handled nearly every item in my home and asked myself the question, “Does this item bring me joy?” Quite often, the answer was no. That item got the boot.
Of course, there were exceptions. Hammers and dental floss and pencil sharpeners aren’t among things that bring me an abundance of happiness, but they do help to achieve other things that I do enjoy- art hanging on the walls, satisfactory gum health, and a newly sharpened pencil so that I can jot down thoughts to share with you kind folks. So those necessary, everyday items sometimes got to stay.

brown sugar shortbread cookies with chocolate drizzle

It took me 6 days, 20 garbage bags, and 2 trips to the massage therapist after I overdid it with my large, pregnant self before I was able to phone Goodwill to pick up my load. And ohhh, it was a load. 98% of the items in those bags were mine; I was living in such excess and I didn’t even realize it. Years of buying new storage bins and more plastic hangers and new drawer organizers was like trying to put a band-aid on the huge, gaping wound that was simply TOO. MUCH. STUFF.

The week long clear-out rid me of piles of things I no longer cared for, and likely, an infinite amount of future purchases I am now less likely to make. While I didn’t follow every facet of the book’s proposed methods, I can tell you that the ones I chose to utilize brought me an incredible amount of joy and lifted a burden of “stuff” that I didn’t even know I was carrying. I have recomended this book to countless people over the past month and now I’m passing this tidbit along to you: DO IT.  It’s fantastic. Bless someone else with your stuff and see how much easier it is to breathe when you don’t have piles of “unnecessary” staring at you in every closet.

brown sugar shortbread cookies with chocolate drizzle

Another tidbit? These shortbread. Ohhhhh, these shortbread.

Buttery, rich cookies that are addictive and practically beg for a cup of coffee. You cannot eat just one, but take it from my personal experience: you don’t want to eat more than three at a time unless you want a bellyache combined with an irrational desire to EAT. MORE. COOKIES. 

This is a recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse, and it’s one of the first things I remember baking as a teenager. Emeril’s recipe calls for baking a very similar dough in a springform pan (so delicious), but I find cookies are easier to share with friends. I’ve included two variations for these cookies: one with a cinnamon sugar topping and one drizzled with chocolate. I lean more towards the warm cinnamon flavors for this cookie, but certainly chocolate is never a bad choice. I’ll also mention that I prefer the thicker, smaller cookies as descibed in the instructions, although you’ll notice I went thinner and wider for the cookies I photographed. Either way, these cookies are incredibly worthwhile and a must-have in your arsenal of shortbread cookies. (Sidenote: if you’re the type of person who has arsenals of things like cookies, I want to know you. Let’s be friends). 

Check out Marie Kondo’s book while you’re at it. 

 

brown sugar shortbread cookies with chocolate drizzle

 

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Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

These buttery brown sugar shortbread cookies are sweet, rich, and perfect for dessert or with an afternoon cup of coffee.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar, reserved (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, reserved (optional)
  • chocolate ganache, chocolate melting wafers, or melted semisweet chocolate chips for drizzling (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pulse flour brown sugar, and salt together until well combined. Add butter chunks and vanilla to dry ingredients and pulse together until a dough forms into one ball. Try not to overwork the dough, but keep in mind this dough is dry and will take more time to come together than some. Flatten dough out into a disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and roll dough out to 1/4″ thickness. (See notes) Using a biscuit cutter or a 2 1/2″ round cutter, cut out cookies and place on a parchment lined baking sheet at least 2″ apart. If desired, combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over cookies. This will turn your regular old brown sugar shortbread to cinnamon sugar shortbread! If your dough has gotten warm or soft, pop in the freezer for 5 minutes to set cookie’s shape.
  3. Baked for about 12 minutes or just until edges have set. Cool on a cooling rack and if desired, drizzle with warmed chocolate. 

Notes

  • For cinnamon brown sugar shortbread, sprinkle cookies liberally with cinnamon and sugar mixture before baking. If chocolate dipped brown sugar shortbread cookies is what you’re after, apply after cookies have been baked and cooled.
  • The cookies as photographed were rolled to 1/4″ thickness and cut with a 2-1/2″ biscuit cutter. For a more traditional shortbread cookie shape, roll a smidge thicker and cut with a smaller 2″ round cutter. Any shape cookie cutter will do. Baking time will differ based on cookie shape so keep an eye on them in the oven and remove when edges are set and are just barely beginning to brown.

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Recipe Adapted From: Emeril Lagasse