I love incorporating burlap into my fall and winter décor. You can dress it up or down, pair it with different patterns, textures, metallics or glass, and it just works. Two things that you might not think work together well is burlap and cookies. But stick with me here…
I spied a roll of burlap ribbon sitting on my counter when I had my a-ha cookie moment. I had just purchased it for my Christmas tree and it gave me an idea. Not just any idea, the best kind of idea – a way OUT of decorating sugar cookies for Thanksgiving with royal icing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve decorated thousands of cookies with royal icing and they are beautiful. However, they are time consuming and sometimes you don’t have the time or patience. Plain sugar cookies are just that, plain. But add a burlap texture to them, and voila, they’re easy to make, but still interesting and pretty!
Regular sugar cookie dough using white sugar wouldn’t look right. Brown sugar just so happens to be very similar in color to burlap. So, it was time to come up with a brown sugar cookie recipe! That was the easy part, actually. Once I tested them and got the thumbs up on flavor from my family, I realized that I’d have to find something to give the dough the textured look of burlap. I started opening all the drawers and cupboards in my kitchen looking for something that I could use. It didn’t take me long to find the perfect tool that you might also have in the back of your kitchen drawer – meat tenderizer!
It might sound crazy, but it worked perfectly. Once the dough is rolled out, pressing the rough side of a meat tenderizer into the dough gives it the look of burlap. You then cut the cookies into the shapes you like, such as the leaf shapes I used here which are very festive for Thanksgiving. Bake them off and they’re ready to serve! I piped the edges with chocolate for an added touch or you can leave them plain. These also make adorably edible place cards for your guests! However you want to use them, serve them, and no matter the cookie cutter you use, I promise they will taste amazing. You might not want to go back to white sugar cookies again.
Brown Sugar Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl to be sure the eggs are well incorporated. Stir in the flour and baking soda a little at a time, until all of the flour is blended in, while being sure not to overmix the cookie dough. Wrap the dough up in plastic and refrigerate for several hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Flour your work surface generously and divide the dough in half, keeping the half you are not using wrapped and refrigerated. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness for tender and thick cookies, roll out thinner for crispy cookies. Use your desired cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on cookie sheets. Re-roll the scraps of dough gently and refrigerate if the dough gets too soft before rolling out again. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. NOTE: Baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. Once the edges are slightly browned, your cookies are ready. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet until transferring. Use melted chocolate in a small zip top back to pipe edging or monograms if desired. Enjoy!