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Brown Sugar Spice Cookies

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 8 dozen 2-inch cookies.


  • 11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups very firmly packed, very fresh dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. molasses
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) coarsely chopped toasted  walnuts


Mix the dough:

  • Sift together the flour, cinnaamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, allspice, and pepper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 min. Add the brown sugar in three additions and then add the molasses; scrape the bowl as needed. Mix for another 2  min. Blend in the egg yolk, egg, and vanilla, scraping the bowl again. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until combined. Portion the dough into thirds, wrap each third in plastic, and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 30 min.

Shape the dough:

  • Have ready three 15-inch sheets of plastic wrap. Whisk the egg white lightly with 1 teaspoon water. Put  the chopped walnuts in a long, shallow pan (like a 7×11-inch Pyrex dish). Working with one piece of dough at a time on a lightly floured surface, roll into a log about 8  inches long. Set it on a sheet of waxed paper. Brush  lightly all over with the egg white and then roll the log in the walnuts, pressing gently so the nuts adhere. The roll should lengthen to at least 9 inches. Position the log  on a sheet of plastic wrap, centering it at the long edge closest to you. Roll tightly, twisting the ends firmly to seal. With your hands on either end of the log, push firmly toward the center to compact the dough. The  finished log should measure about 9  inches long and 1-3/4 inches thick. Repeat with the remaining dough. Refrigerate until firm enough to slice, at least 2  hours, or freeze for up to three months.

Bake the cookies:

  • Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Working with one log  at a time, use a tomato knife or other small serrated knife to slice the dough into 1/4-inch rounds, using a gentle sawing motion. Set the rounds 1 inch apart on the prepared pans and bake until the tops feel set and slightly firm, about 14 minutes, rotating the pans as needed. Let cool on the pans for 5  minutes. With a thin metal spatula, transfer the cookies to racks. When cool, store between sheets of waxed paper in a tightly covered container for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months.


For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.


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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • domenic_a | 12/30/2017

    Delicious! I made them this year with pomegranate molasses instead of regular molasses and the results were even better. Gave the cookies a fruity undertone and more complex flavor.

    It can be tricky to slice the dough thin enough. It helps to keep each roll in the fridge until you are ready to slice it.

  • llf | 11/21/2011

    Easy to make and yummy! I will be making them for Christmas this year. I made these without a food mixer and they are easy to do by hand.

  • BetseyB | 12/04/2007

    These became a family favorite the first time I made them, and they are now a mandatory entry on my holiday cookie list. Wonderful with a cup of tea!

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