I’m a pretty sentimental person. I hang on to old birthday cards, I adore art made by the kids and hang on to way too much of it, and my most treasured possessions all have a connection to someone. It was a given, then, that when we had kids we wanted each of our children to have at least one family name. The boys both have family middle names, and Elsie is named after my Mema, my mom’s mother.
Mema loved to cook, and she definitely showed love through food. My friends and I used to joke that if someone came to rob her, she’d offer them some snacks and a drink before they left. My mom has told me many times about the brown sugar icebox cookies Mema made all throughout her childhood, a recipe she got from her mom, who everyone called Muzzie.
Muzzie’s cookies are simple and charming, sweet but not too sweet, balanced with a perfect undertone of cinnamon. They’re delicious, but they’re also extra-special to me because of the connection they have to Mema.
When I first looked at the recipe for these cookies, the first thing I noticed was that there was no salt. It went against everything in me to make cookies without a little salt in the dough, and I even briefly contemplated adjusting the recipe.
In the end I just couldn’t alter something passed down from my great grandmother, and I’m so glad I didn’t stray from the original ingredient list. These cookies are delicious! The brown sugar gives them a great chew, and caramelizes on the bottom of the cookie to give a nice, crisp texture – a great contrast to the soft, chewy rest of the cookie. There’s cinnamon, too, which we all know is BFFs with brown sugar.
These brown sugar cookies are light enough that they’re lovely to have on hand for summer, but with the warmth of the cinnamon they’d be a great cookie to make for holiday gifting as well. That is, if you don’t eat them all yourself.
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
- ½ teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 3½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream the eggs, brown sugar, and butter.
- Add the cream of tartar, baking soda, and cinnamon to the mixture.
- Add flour ½ cup at a time until it's all well-incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto wax paper and make a log for easy slicing. Wrap the dough up well and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- Slice off pieces of dough and roll walnut-sized pieces into balls, flatten into round discs, then dip both sides in sugar and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake Bake 8-9 minutes for a soft cookie and 10-11 minutes for a crisper cookie.