Brown Sugar Shortbread

A few months ago, someone passed me a plate full of brown sugar shortbread squares. I think they intended me to take one and keep passing them along but the I ate them. All of them. Okay not really but I did eat a lot of shortbread that night. Needless to say, I tracked down the recipe the next day and started making it my own.


This recipe has become my go-to for everything from cocktail parties to sailboat picnics. I can leave it a little gooey-er or add more sugar depending on the crowd but mostly, the recipe below is the way to go.

brown sugar shortbread squares

While I was home this past weekend, my mother and I set out on a rather ambitious day of recipe crafting. Unfortunately, we were both having one of those days where nothing seems to turn out quite right. This would have been fine except for the fact that we had 12 people coming over for dinner that night. Not ideal. Crunched for time, I turned to my go-to crowd pleaser and hoped for the best.

The shortbread was such a hit when I made it for dinner on Friday that my parents insisted I make another batch for a potluck we were attending on Sunday! I’m now a little shortbread-ed out but boy was it worth it.

Brown sugar shortbread squares

Tips for success:

  • Cooking time will vary based on pan size and material (glass or metal) so make sure you adjust cooking time accordingly. If the pan is larger and the shortbread is thinner, cook it for less time. If you use a glass pan, cook it an extra minute or two.
  • Don’t overmix the batter! Use a spatula (or clean hands) to combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  • This one isn’t a tip but if you are looking for a some accolades, make this and share it with everyone you know.


  • 8 Ounces of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Cup (200g) and two tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Cups (260g) flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon

Recipe - Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Butter a glass 8x8 pan
  • Cream butter and all but two tablespoons of brown sugar in a medium bowl
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt
  • Gentle mix wet ingredients into dry - careful not to over mix
  • Pour batter into prepared pan
  • Top shortbread with leftover brown sugar and cinnamon
  • Using a fork, poke holes into the top of shortbread every inch or so
  • Bake for 32-36 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean
  • Let cool before serving