Autumnal Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

So I made these cookies today and they were such a big hit I decided y’all probably need the recipe, too. They’re a classic cut out cookie, as my mom calls them, but I made them fit for fall with a brown sugar frosting and some lovely spices sprinkled over top. All in all it’s an easy, straightforward (although admittedly kind of time consuming) recipe that’s perfect for getting your kids involved! They love using cookie cutters and making a mess with icing.

A few notes… this dough will keep in the fridge for several days if it’s wrapped in plastic wrap, so if your kids (or you) get bored half way through it’s no problem. The icing is a bit grainy due to the brown sugar, which doesn’t bother me a bit, but if it bothers you you can always swap it out for another cup of powdered sugar. It just won’t have as much of an “autumn” taste. Likewise, the spice mix can easily be adjusted to your taste. My sister would probably leave out the clove, since for some bizarre reason she hates it. If you don’t have any cardamom don’t go rushing out to buy some unless you want to. They’ll be just fine without it. You get the jist. 


Cookies (makes approximately 4 dozen)

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups (360g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Spice mix

  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-low speed until slightly fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat an additional minute. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  3. Turn mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture into butter mixture, upping the speed if the mixture gets too thick. Once combined, turn dough out onto plastic wrap, form into a disc, and chill for one hour. 
  4. In the meantime, make icing – either in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mixture will be grainy. Add in milk and vanilla, then beat on medium-high to combine. Add salt to taste (if you’re considering leaving it out I strongly urge you to reconsider, even a little pinch balances the sweetness). 
  5. Mix together spices for the spice mix.
  6. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  7. Once chilled, break off about 1/4 of the dough and leave the rest in the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thick. 
  8. Use a cookie cutter (or several different ones, or even go freehand) to cut as many cookies out of the dough as possible. 
  9. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Watch them carefully as thinner cookies will easily burn.
  10. While cookies are baking, gather up left over dough, form into a disc and return to fridge. Break off another hunk of dough and repeat this process until all of the dough has been used (or save some for tomorrow). 
  11. Transfer baked cookies to a rack to cool. 
  12. Once cool, ice the cookies and sprinkle them with the spice mixture. Allow icing to harden and then transfer cookies to airtight container. 

These are lovely enjoyed with a warm cup of tea or coffee. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

4 thoughts on “Autumnal Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting

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