Brown Sugar Cookies with Dulce de Leche

Average (0)
brown sugar cookies dulce de leche recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

We’ve officially found the easiest (not to mention cutest) holiday cookie recipe on the internet: Introducing pastry chef Erin McDowell’s brown sugar cookies with dulce de leche, which take, like, 25 minutes to make (plus a little chilling time).

“This is a twist on the classic frosted sugar cookie for the holidays,” McDowell tells us, “but it’s so simple to make. The brown sugar actually makes the cookie dough really easy to roll, so if you normally struggle with rolling out the dough evenly, this one is super smooth. It also holds its shape really nicely for cutouts and festive shapes.”

“Instead of the extra step of making icing, you use dulce de leche,” she continues. “You can make your own, but even I use store-bought, which is so smooth and easy to spread into a thin layer.” And if you’ve got a last-minute cookie swap on the calendar, never fear: Just make the cookies and let them sit out for about 12 hours so the dulce de leche will lose its stickiness. Then the cookies can be stacked and put into cookie tins.

A caramel Christmas really is the best kind, don’t you think?


1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup (106g) dark brown sugar

1 large (56g) egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2¾ cups (330g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

1⅓ cups (339g) dulce de leche

Sprinkles (optional), for finishing


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium-low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix on medium speed to combine. Scrape the bowl well. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix on low speed until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.

3. Form the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to three days).

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies, then transfer the cookies to four parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate while you preheat the oven to 350°F.

5. Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake until the cookies darken slightly around the edges and appear set, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

6. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of dulce de leche on top of each cookie and spread evenly to frost. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cookies on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap.

Nutrition Facts
  • 185 calories

  • 9g fat

  • 23g carbs

  • 3g protein

  • 12g sugars

Powered By

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

Made it? Rate it!

erin jeanne mcdowell
Erin McDowell

Freelance Food Editor

Erin Jeanne McDowell is a recipe developer, food stylist and author of multiple cookbooks, including The Fearless Baker, which was named one of the Best Baking Books of 2017 by...
read full bio