Sue’s Swedish Brown Cookies

Sue Haas in the Kitchen

Sue Haas in the Kitchen

Here is the fourth installment in my Twelve Cookies of Christmas series. These brown cookies (they derive their color from caramelization of the sugar) will banish your March blahs.
The recipe comes from Sue Haas in Seattle, Washington, a regular reader of this blog and the dear sister of my dear minister, Cara Hochhalter. Sue writes children’s books when she isn’t working on art sales and appraisals. She says the recipe originated with her friend Marilynn Pray.
Sue and her daughter Alysa are busy planting a garden together. (I AM SO JEALOUS! We still have snow in the northeast!) Alysa writes about gardening and cooking on her own blog, Grass-Fed Goat.
The photos on this post come courtesy of Sue and Alysa, although I did test the recipe. (I felt it was my sacred duty.) The cookies taste of butter and honey: what could be better? Next time I may try them with maple syrup instead of the honey. After all, March is Maple Month!
Sue uses C&H Baker’s Sugar for the “fine baking sugar” (a.k.a. superfine sugar) called for in the recipe. I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to go to the store for superfine sugar so I put regular sugar in my blender and pulsed. It needed a little sorting through (the pulsing left a few clumps), but after the sorting it was an acceptable substitute.
Enjoy the cookies. I hope you’re thinking about your own garden….
The Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1/2 cup fine baking sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour
3 teaspoons honey (plus a small amount more if needed)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cream together the butter and sugar; then beat in the baking soda. (Sue actually whisks the soda into the flour, but I added it by itself.) Add the flour and continue to mix lightly until combined.
Drizzle the honey into the flour and sugar/butter mixture and stir. The dough will stick together a bit better with the honey added. You may need to add a little more honey to make the dough hold together. Form the dough into a large “softball” shape with your hands. Divide it into two pieces.
Roll and pat one of the pieces of dough onto the parchment on one long side of the pan into a long, flattened 12-inch “snake,” smushing the dough with your fingers so that it forms an even flat piece, about 2 to 3 inches wide and about 12 inches long.
Do the same with the second piece of dough placed several inches apart on the same sheet from the first piece. You will have two long, flat shapes of dough on one cookie sheet.
2 Flattened snakesweb
Bake the snakes until the dough is golden brown. (Sue estimated this at 15 to 20 minutes; it took a little longer in my oven.)
Check the dough after about 12 minutes. Take the cookies out earlier, or when they are only light brown, if you want a softer cookie. (I liked them crisp.)
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Let it cool for only 2 to 3 minutes. While the dough is still warm cut a long line down the center of each snake-shaped piece. Then cut each “snake” diagonally at about one-inch intervals to make 3-inch long cookie strips.
If you’d rather make really long diagonal strips (about 5- to 6-inch-long cookie strips), omit making the vertical cut down the center of each snake. That would reduce the total number of finished cookies by half. OR cut each 3-inch cookie strip in half to make tiny 1-1/2-inch-long bite-size pieces to feed a big crowd.
“Light, buttery, and delicious,” says Sue of her cookies.  Makes 20 to 40 cookies, depending on how you cut them.
Alysa and Sue

Alysa and Sue



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8 Responses to “Sue’s Swedish Brown Cookies”

  1. Raoul Montchoux says:

    Even those of us who observe the distinction between cooking and baking (i.e., those of us who do not bake) sometimes long to have at hand a simple recipe for a simple, basic cake, or perhaps cookies. I’m going to try this recipe. The photographs as well as the brief list of ingredients have convinced me that even I could make these cookies. Part of their appeal surely will come from their taste – you’ve convinced me they’re delicious. And for those of us in the non-baking ranks, part of the appeal is that they can be baked en mass, so to speak, and sliced later into precisely the size we require. I’m guessing one might also alter the basic recipe with other hints of flavoring whether lemon, anise or cinnamon? I’ve lately taken to having honey with bread and toast and only now begun to appreciate the vast spectrum of flavors different honeys possess – that alone might make each batch of the cookies varied and intriguing. Thank you and the Haas bakers for filling one more gap in my culinary understanding. Yesterday our order of Girl Scout Cookies was delivered and with all due respect, it is evident that we need not only a more reliable cookie source (once-a-year cookies!?) but perhaps a, dare I say it, better cookie as well.

  2. Mattenylou says:

    I love these quick recipes, with just a few ingredients that we always have on hand, thanks, Tinky. I will be making these with the maple syrup we just got. and slicing them just long enough to dunk in my tea. Oh my!

  3. Sue Haas says:

    Thanks, Tinky, for the nice write-up on my Swedish Brown Cookies! They are so easy and quick (and yummy), as Raoul and Mattenylou noticed, and a vast improvement on the sadly stale Girl Scout “Samoa” cookies that I bought this year. (No offense to the darling Girl Scout who sold them to me.) Yes, I’ve added various spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and almond extract to the dough with success. I, too, have used plain old granulated sugar if I didn’t have “baker’s sugar” on hand, and frankly, I didn’t notice any difference. I’ve also pressed sliced almonds onto the tops before baking them for a fancier look. I like your idea of using maple syrup instead of honey! I’ll try it! We don’t have sugar maple trees here in the Northwest (only Japanese maples, vine maples, and big leaf maples, as far as I know) but I certainly can buy good maple syrup made in Quebec at Trader Joe’s. I’ve already finished the delicious maple syrup made by Cara’s friends in Charlemont, MA. Thanks again and I hope your readers enjoy the recipe. And yes, we’re thinking about our gardens, although our 60º weather last weekend just dropped to 37º today. Brrr. Maybe a batch of cookies is in order. 🙂 Sue

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    Sue–Thanks for mentioning the cardamom, etc., which I didn’t put in the recipe as posted since I hadn’t tried them. And thanks for the yummy recipe, if not the calories!

  5. Oh Tinky, please … I’ve got to get into my swimsuit at the end of April, and you’re not making it easy with recipes like this! I think the sugar must be what we call caster sugar (I thought we were supposed to speak the same language!!)

  6. tinkyweisblat says:

    My apologies, Frayed; if you invite a lot of people over to eat the cookies, you should still manage the swimsuit (I hope!).

    And you’re right: superfine sugar and caster/castor sugar are the same thing.

  7. Grad says:

    I tried to comment and something went weird. So you may get two from me on this. I love that it only has 5 ingredients, and all of them are things I have on hand. I’m definitely giving this one a try over the weekend.

  8. tinkyweisblat says:

    Dear Readers: Here’s a report from a reader named Donna, sent to me via Facebook:

    “Ola, I tried out the latest recipe and using maple syrup instead of honey. I must be killing my tastebuds, all I got was butter and sugar. Not even a hint of maple goodness crossed my palate.”

    Thanks, Donna, for trying the maple adaptation! I guess we’ll stick with the honey……………