Rustic Caramel Iced Brown Sugar Cookies are a sweet twist on a sugar cookie. Brown sugar brings a hint of warm caramel notes and a pretty deep blonde color to the batter. Top them with raw sugar before baking or drizzle them with a brown sugar caramel icing. Then decorate with chopped nuts or festive gold sprinkles!
I’m taking a load off some holiday cookie baking stress this season. I’m going rustic and I’ve decided to put a little sugar on the rustic trend with my Rustic Caramel Iced Brown Sugar Cookies.
I’m not the first to go a little rustic with a sweet. In recent years, we’ve all certainly seen our fair share of naked cakes. Those were part of the rustic trend, especially popular for rustic farmhouse weddings.
Then, there’s the whole modern farmhouse trend. I like a modern twist on a classic.
But sugar cookies? Well, I started off planing this post by thinking about a classic sugar cookie and all the fun decorations you can put on them.
All the icings and sprinkles and piping and flooding and, and….you know. Aaaallll the stuff. Trust me. I have bins full of stuff to decorate sugar cookies.
My sister loves decorating sugar cookies. And with her creative abilities, rest assured they are works of art. She’ll do a whole batch of them, each one looking better than the next.
When we were single, my friends and I used to get together at Christmas to bake cookies. I would often make Italian Biscotti.
Another friend typically made peanut butter blossoms (the one with the kiss in the middle.) Yet another friend unfortunately ended up as our comic relief.
I remember the first year, she was making some kind of cookie by piling flour on a board and slowly working in eggs, like some do when they’re making homemade pasta.
I still can’t remember what kind of cookie it was supposed to be. I just remember eggs escaping the pile of flour and all of the chaos of trying to catch them before they hit the floor.
That became an affectionate joke for all the cookie bake offs that followed.
Then, there was my friend who hosted the cookie bake off. She always made sugar cookies. Lots of them. Which meant, that after we were done baking our other cookies, there were lots of sugar cookies to decorate :/
The first year, we had a contest. We each decorated a Santa cookie. He was in full figure with a bag of toys on his back.
I remember painstakingly coloring my icing to match his skin tone and adding blush to his cheeks. I made sure to capture his blue eyes and added texture to the fur on his suit. I think I spent an hour decorating that one cookie.
I was sure to win, no? Honestly, I can’t remember if I won or not. It sure was a beautiful cookie.
My friend that made the peanut butter blossoms, decorated hers in about a minute and moved on. And, after I decorated mine, I had no real desire to decorate more cookies, at least not as painstakingly as the first.
And that became another affectionate joke for years to come. When we finished baking all of the other cookies and it came time to decorate the sugar cookies, we’d all let out a groan. There’d be some beauties in the pile, that’s for sure.
But, you could definitely tell when we had had enough. Suddenly it was just drizzles and sprinkles. No artwork. No tedious details. It was the only way we could get through the pile of sugar cookies and live to tell about it :)
I actually like decorating cookies, as long as it doesn’t get too tedious. We have lots of fun decorating our Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies. Each one has it’s own personality.
This year has been crazy, though. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the stress of the holidays. I want to get my cookie baking done, but life has a way of throwing curve balls when you least expect it.
I had all kinds plans of what cookie I would post next, when I started thinking about sugar cookies. And, then I started thinking about how I would decorate them. You know, make them extra pretty for you :)
And then I started thinking about the sugar cookies of Christmas past and decided to back away from a whole batch of intricately decorated sugar cookies. But I had this other idea gnawing at me. I was thinking about brown sugar cookies.
Before I knew it, I was aaaalll about making a brown sugar cookie with a brown sugar based icing. But I was also aaallll about keeping the decorations simple. There would be no food dye involved, no rainbow colored sprinkles.
I wanted the cookies to be a sugar cookie of a different color, as it were. Au natural…but not naked ;)
So, I baked up a batch of brown sugar cookies. Some of them were simply topped with a generous amount of raw turbinado sugar. But I knew I’d want some icing on others.
Then , I made a brown sugar caramel icing. That was a game changer. It’s buttery and brown sugary with notes of warm caramel.
Since I was going with simple and quick in the decorating department, I just drizzled the icing in a diagonal pattern on most of the cookies. Then, keeping with the neutral palette, but wanting a bit of sparkle…I added a sprinkle of gold sugar. So pretty!
And then, I got another idea…toasted pecans! I love nuts in cookies! I know I’ve mentioned that I love toasted pecans in a chocolate chip cookie. (Though, as I’ve mentioned before, my husband prefers them without) :(
I taste tested the pecans and icing on a reject cookie and almost changed the whole recipe to a butter pecan sugar cookie recipe. Yum! But, not everyone likes nuts in their cookies, so I kept all the options on the table.
Truth be told, though, all of the cookies were delicious for different reasons. I liked the simplicity and crunchy texture of the raw sugar topping. I loved the gold sparkle on the creamy drizzled icing. And, you know how I felt about the pecans.
These cookies were not just sugar cookies with a tan. These were a completely different kind of sugar cookie! No fancy colors or rainbow sprinkles, just a very flavorful icing on a brown sugar flavored cookie.
And, there was no stress in decorating them. That’s why I called them, “Rustic.” Rustic Caramel Iced Brown Sugar Cookies. They’re the comfy side of sugar cookies.
Yep, they’d fit right in with a naked cake in a fancy barn somewhere. Just look at them; they’re just screaming to be tied up with a burlap ribbon :)
When I told my family I was making brown sugar cookies, I didn’t get much of a reaction.
When they saw them decorated in their oh so simple way? Well, let’s just say they were impressed. I guess seeing is believing. They thought they were simply beautiful!
Oh, and then I asked everyone if they wanted to sample one of the cookies. My son picked one with icing and gold sprinkles. My daughter picked one that just had the raw sugar on top.
My husband? He picked the one with the nuts :| (Wait. What?!?)
Yeah. Go figure.