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Soft Maple Brown Sugar Cookie Recipe

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These soft maple brown sugar cookies are the pillowy partner to my maple sugar cookie cutout recipe – no chilling required, and ready in under 30 minutes! Top with a drizzle of sweet maple icing for even more maple flavor.

A maple sugar cookie with maple icing drizzled over the tops

You all love my maple sugar cookie cutout recipe. Maybe even as much as I do. They're easy to make, they don't need to be chilled, and they're ready in about 30 minutes.

People have been asking if they can make that recipe without cookie cutters because they love the flavor but don't want the hassle of rolling out the dough, cutting out each cookie, and frosting each one… but the answer is sadly no. It's made specifically for cutout cookies (which makes it awesome for Christmas cookies, by the way).

But I heard your feedback and have made another version that doesn't require any of those steps!

  • Less flour, more butter. I reduced the amount of flour and increased the amount of butter so that they'll spread and be softer.
  • Baking soda instead of powder. I swapped the baking powder for baking soda because it helps cookies spread more than baking powder.
  • More maple syrup. I added maple syrup to the cookie dough, and not just the icing. It adds moisture, sweetness and more maple flavor.
  • And more maple extract! I increased the amount of maple extract in the dough (since it can handle a little extra liquid), and omitted the vanilla extract – just to really take the maple flavor up a notch!
  • No rolling pin needed. While you will scoop the dough and roll each into balls with your palms, you don't need to evenly roll out the dough to cut out each cookie with cookie cutters.
  • Less icing needed. Since you don't need to coat the top of each cookie with frosting, we're making less icing, and with a higher ratio of syrup to powdered sugar so that it can easily be drizzled. Plus it's easier to decorate with – you can lay out all your cookies next to each other and use a spoon to just drizzle the icing over a whole bunch of cookies at once!

Ingredients for soft maple sugar cookies

Cookies

  • All-purpose flour – This provides all the structure needed in just the right amount, so make sure you're measuring the flour properly so you don't accidentally end up overmeasuring!
  • Baking soda – This helps the cookies puff up when baking
  • Salt – The salt will provide balance to all the sweetness
  • Unsalted butter – The butter needs to be softened to room temperature before it's creamed into the cookie dough
  • Light brown sugar – The flavor of light brown sugar complements the maple flavor in a really lovely way. You can substitute for dark brown sugar if need be, but I think that light brown sugar allows more of the maple flavor to shine through.
  • Egg – 1 large room temperature egg helps bind everything together and provides some moisture
  • Pure maple syrup – The maple syrup adds moisture, sweetness, and more maple flavor.
  • Maple extract – Maple extract for even more maple flavor! Maple extract is more concentrated than maple syrup, so we can get away with adding more flavor without adding too much liquid.
  • Almond extract – Classic sugar cookies usually have almond extract for their signature flavor, and it goes well with the maple flavors
  • Ground cinnamon – It's optional, but I like the warm spice of cinnamon in the cookie dough

How to make brown sugar maple cookies

Mixing bowl full of brown colored dough

Step 1: In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Step 2: In a separate large bowl using a stand or hand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and creamy.

Step 3: Add egg and beat until combined. Add maple syrup, maple extract, almond extract, and cinnamon and beat again to combine.

Mixing bowl full of tan colored dough with a spatula

Step 4: Add dry ingredients 1 cup at a time, beating on medium speed to combine between each addition.

Scoops of tan colored dough on a baking sheet

Step 5: Use a medium cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) to portion the dough.

Smooth balls of tan colored dough on a baking sheet

Step 6: Roll the cookie dough between the palm of your hands to get them into ball shapes. Don't add more than 6 cookies per baking sheet to allow for some spreading.

Bake for about 12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned on the edges – the middles will still look soft. Don't overbake! You want them to be slightly underbaked when you take them out of the oven, that's how they stay soft.

Pro tip: Bake one batch at a time, allowing the baking sheet to cool completely before adding the next batch of cookies to bake – this will ensure even and consistent baking times.

Tips for making the best soft maple sugar cookies

  • Make sure your butter is softened to room temperature. Check out this post to learn what that looks like, and why that’s so important!
  • Ensure that your flour is measured properly. If you over-measure, you’ll end up with a dry dough that’s too crumbly. You want the dough to come together like a soft playdough. Measuring properly is important for all your ingredients, but flour in particular for this recipe!
  • Use light brown sugar. You can substitute for dark brown sugar if need be, but I think that light brown sugar allows more of the maple flavor to shine through.

Yes, real maple syrup matters!

Let’s just get something out of the way right now: if you don’t use pure, real, straight outta the tree maple syrup for the icing on these cookies you’re going to regret it and the New England gods will frown upon you. I promise you, it makes a difference.

If you’re new to the maple syrup game, check out this comprehensive guide to maple syrup grades.

Here’s why it matters: You need the thick, pure, robust amber flavor that you can only get with the real thing. Grade A maple syrup is lighter, and Grade B is darker and more robust. I prefer Grade B if I can get my hands on it, but either one is great.

Anything coming out of a bottle in the shape of a woman that’s butter flavored is just… wrong. Please trust me on this, and believe me when I say it’s worth the extra dough.

Do I have to use maple extract?

Unfortunately, you can't swap maple extract for more maple syrup because that would add too much liquid. Maple extract also has a more concentrated flavor that is necessary for the level of maple-ness we're looking for.

If you don't have any or can't find it, you can omit it – but just note that the end result will have a much less distinct maple flavor.

A stack of maple sugar cookies drizzled with icing on a white plate

Do you need to chill the dough?

It's not necessary for this recipe, but if you'd like to make the dough ahead of time, you can cover the bowl and chill the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let the dough set on the counter for about 10 minutes before scooping and baking.

Do I have to roll the dough into balls?

Well… yes and no. To get the results you see in the photos, you do.

But if you just portion them with a cookie scoop, plop them on the baking sheet, and bake them without rolling, they'll look a little different and have a slightly different texture.

See the photo below for an example of what happens when you:

  • Don't chill the dough and roll them into balls
  • Don't chill the dough and don't roll them into balls
  • Chill the dough and don't roll them into balls
  • Chill the dough and roll them into balls

As you can see, there's not much difference between chilling or not chilling the dough, but there is quite a difference between rolling and not rolling it into balls.

Four different ways of preparing and baking the same cookie

Do I have to add the maple icing?

Nope! If you leave them plain, they'll have a lightly sweet maple flavor.

I love to drizzle the cookies with this simple and quick-to-make maple glaze because it adds more sweetness to the finished product and adds a little creamy touch to each bite.

I find that the quantity in the recipe card makes enough for a hearty drizzle over two dozen cookies, but it all depends on the size, shape, and personal preference of icing thickness you like.

This icing is my personal favorite, and I never get sick of it! And it hardens, so stacking and packing them isn’t an issue.

How many maple cookies does this recipe make?

With a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons), you'll get up to 24 cookies. I'm usually a little loosey-goosey with my scooping, so I tend to end up with around 20.

Can I freeze maple sugar cookies?

You sure can!

  • To freeze the baked cookies: Store baked and cooled cookies between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • To freeze the dough: Store rolled cookie dough balls in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to make cookies, you can bake them straight from the freezer without thawing – just add a minute or two of extra baking time.
An assortment of maple sugar cookies and a bottle of maple syrup

FAQs

Do I have to use maple extract?

Unfortunately, you can't swap maple extract for more maple syrup because that would add too much liquid. Maple extract also has a more concentrated flavor that is necessary for the level of maple-ness we're looking for.

Do I have to use real maple syrup?

1000 times, yes! You need the thick, pure, robust amber flavor that you can only get with the real thing. Grade A maple syrup is lighter, and Grade B is darker and more robust. I prefer Grade B if I can get my hands on it, but either one is great. If you’re new to the maple syrup game, check out this comprehensive guide to maple syrup grades.

Do I have to chill the dough?

It's not necessary for this recipe, but if you'd like to make the dough ahead of time, you can cover the bowl and chill the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let the dough set on the counter for about 10 minutes before scooping and baking.

Do I have to roll the dough into balls?

Well… yes and no. To get the results you see in the photos, you do. But if you just portion them with a cookie scoop, plop them on the baking sheet, and bake them without rolling, they'll look a little different and have a slightly different texture. See the photo in the body of the post for an example of what happens when you do roll the dough into balls versus when you don't.

Do I have to add the maple icing?

Nope! If you leave them plain, they'll have a lightly sweet maple flavor.

How many maple cookies does this recipe make?

With a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons), you'll get up to 24 cookies. I'm usually a little loosey-goosey with my scooping, so I tend to end up with around 20.

Can I freeze maple sugar cookies?

Yes!
To freeze the baked cookies: Store baked and cooled cookies between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
To freeze the dough: Store rolled cookie dough balls in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to make cookies, you can bake them straight from the freezer without thawing – just add a minute or two of extra baking time.

Can I substitute maple syrup for brown sugar in cookies?

Unfortunately, you can't swap the brown sugar for maple syrup because that would add too much liquid.

Leaving a comment and star rating is a great (and free) way to support Stress Baking. After you've enjoyed this recipe, click on the stars below and leave a comment to share your experience – thank you!

Soft Maple Sugar Cookies

5 from 5 votes
These soft maple sugar cookies are the pillowy partner to my maple sugar cookie cutout recipe – no chilling required, and ready in under 30 minutes! Top with a drizzle of sweet maple icing for even more maple flavor.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 20 to 24 cookies

Ingredients
 

Cookies

Maple Icing

Instructions

Maple sugar cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 2 baking sheets with nonstick silicon mats or parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    2 1/3 cups (291 ⅔ g) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) salt
  • In a separate large bowl using a stand of hand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and creamy.
    1/2 cup (113 ½ g) unsalted butter
    1 cup (220 g) light brown sugar
  • Add egg and beat until combined.
    1 egg
  • Add maple syrup, maple extract and almond extract (and cinnamon, if including) and beat again to combine.
    1/3 cup (107 ⅓ g) pure maple syrup
    1 1/2 teaspoons (1 ½ teaspoons) maple extract
    1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) almond extract
    pinch ground cinnamon
  • Add dry ingredients 1 cup at a time, beating on medium speed to combine between each addition.
  • Use a medium cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) to portion dough. Roll cookie dough between the palm of your hands to get them into ball-shapes. Don't add more than 6 cookies per baking sheet to allow for some spreading.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned on the edges – the middles will still look soft. Don't overbake! You want them to be slightly underbaked when you take them out of the oven, that's how they stay soft.
    Tip: Bake one batch at a time, allowing the baking sheet to cool completely before adding the next batch of cookies to bake – this will ensure even and consistent baking times.
  • Let cool 5-10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Maple icing

  • While cookies are cooling, combine sifted powdered sugar, maple syrup and salt (if adding) in a small mixing bowl and use a whisk to combine – the icing will thicken and become a tan color. You want it to easily drizzle.
    1/2 cup (60 g) confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
    3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    pinch salt
  • Pour the icing into a piping bag and drizzle on top.
  • Let set completely, then serve and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Brown sugar swap: You can substitute dark brown sugar for the light brown sugar, but you can't swap it for granulated sugar.
  • Maple syrup: Always use Grade A (lighter) or Grade B (darker) pure maple syrup – never the “breakfast syrup” kind.
  • Maple extract: Unfortunately you can't swap maple extract for more maple syrup because that would add too much liquid. Maple extract also has a more concentrated flavor that is necessary for the level of maple-ness we're looking for. If you don't have any or can't find it, you can omit it – but just note that the end result will have a much less distinct maple flavor.
  • Storage: Once the icing has set completely, store cookies in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper. Tip: Add a piece of bread to the container to keep cookies soft longer!
  • Chilling the dough: It's not necessary for this recipe, but if you'd like to make the dough ahead of time, you can cover the bowl and chill the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let the dough set on the counter for about 10 minutes before scooping and baking.
  • To freeze the baked cookies: Store baked and cooled cookies between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • To freeze the dough: Store rolled cookie dough balls in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to make cookies, you can bake them straight from the freezer without thawing – just add a minute or two of extra baking time.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The provided nutrition information is generated by an automatic API and does not take variations across specific brands into account. This information is provided as a general guideline and should not be treated as official calculations. Learn more here.

Recipe created by Leslie Kiszka

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I just made these cookies. Very very good but a bit sweet for me. If I wanted to cut back on sweetness a bit, could I reduce the brown sugar a bit or reduce the maple syrup a bit. I am taking cookies to a gentleman that makes maple syrup. Just want him to know his efforts are appreciated.