Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies

No butter, no white sugar, no complaints.

Just dark and rich cookies so soft that they bend rather than break.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

Growing up I loved Soft Batch Cookies. Although there was never a shortage of homemade cookies around, something about those uber-soft storebought cookies, almost flexible and pliable they’re so soft, was something I’d pester my mom to buy.

These cookies are my ode to Soft Batch cookies, using a more robust flavor palette. I love the dark, rich, robust flavors of dark brown sugar and molasses, and pairing them with coconut oil was the best flavor pairing decision I’ve made in ages. But pairing coconut oil with almost anything is a good call.

MY OTHER RECIPES

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

I tried to convey in the Coconut Oil White Chocolate Cookies recipe that the coconut oil doesn’t make the cookies taste like tanning lotion. In fact, the coconut flavor when baking with coconut oil is much less overt than if using shredded or flaked coconut, which can often be quite powerful and almost off-putting. Instead, I liken coconut oil to amped up, flavored butter. Just as browned butter is an enhanced, tastier version of butter, coconut oil in many ways is the same.

Interestingly, I’ve found when baking with coconut oil that the smell is more pronounced than the actual flavor. Instead, what is pronounced is the richness and deeply satisfying density. The lusciousness of coconut oil on your lips and tongue supercedes the coconut taste. Cookies baked with it have an immense richness that is so luxurious. I don’t bite into them and say oh wow, this tastes like coconut, which is my way of saying if you’re on the fence about coconut in general, to give coconut oil a whirl in baking. You’ll still be able to taste it, but it’s not as powerful as you’d think. Plus, dark brown sugar and molasses are two flavors that can stand up to it.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

I’ve been craving molasses cookies and rather than being seasonally inappropriate with a straight up molasses cookie in the almost springtime, I allowed the natural molasses undertones in dark brown sugar to work for me. Dark brown sugar is really just light brown sugar with triple the amount of molasses. Approximately 3 tablespoons molasses to 1 cup granulated sugar in dark brown sugar, versus 1 tablespoon to 1 cup granulated sugar for light brown sugar. Plus, I supplemented the dough with 1 tablespoon molasses, enough to add that extra pop I love.

Please don’t write to tell me that brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added. I’ve been told that about 500 times. I am making a taste claim about dark brown sugar, not a health claim. You cannot get the flavor from white sugar that brown sugar lends.

Make the cookies by combining coconut oil with dark brown sugar, an egg, vanilla and cream the ingredients until they’re soft and fluffy, about five minutes. It’s important to use coconut oil that’s softened to the consistency of softened butter. The same consistency you’d use for creaming butter, sugars, and eggs in traditional cookie dough.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

If your coconut oil is rock hard, microwave it in a small bowl for five or ten seconds, or just until it begins to soften. If it’s runny or melted, place it in the freezer momentarily until it firms up. A tiny amount of runniness is fine; it’s an oil and that happens. But do not use melted or purely liquid coconut oil because you can’t effectively cream a liquid; it would be like trying to cream liquid butter. Doesn’t work.

I used 2 tablespoons vanilla, because I love it and this dough is bold and can stand up to it, but if you prefer less, add to taste. I used Homemade Vanilla Extract, full of vanilla bean flecks and specks.

I bake cookies and bread with unsulphered molasses, not blackstrap, which is too bitter for me to enjoy. Even though it’s only a tablespoon, I caution against using it in this recipe unless you prefer a pungent and bitter bite.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

Add the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, and mix to just incorporate. I normally use a combination of bread and all-prose flour in cookies, but for these, I stuck with AP because cookies made with it are softer, although not quite as chewy. I was going for that extreme Soft Batch softness.

And for that reason, I also added cornstarch. Cornstarch is a workhorse and I used it in my favorite chocolate chip cookies. It does the job of both softening and tenderizing dough, and cookies made with it bake up extremely soft. One of the reasons I think the Pudding Cookies craze has taken off is because one of the first ingredients in pudding mix is ‘modified food starches’, code for cornstarch. And cookies made with it are super soft and people love a soft cookie. The same is true of Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies or Mounds Bar Chocolate Coconut Cake Mix Cookies. The cornstarch in the mix helps them bake up so soft that they’re bendy.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

The cookie dough will be soft and it’s not sticky or tacky like traditional chocolate chip cookie dough. It reminds me of a peanut butter-based cookie dough because it seems a little on the oily side, thanks to the coconut oil. It has that Play-Doh like consistency and you can pinch it together and it sticks to itself but not to your hands.

I used my medium 2-inch cookie scoop and made 16 mounds, about two heaping tablespoons of dough each. I didn’t flatten them, shape them, or touch them in any way. I let the tops stay ‘feathered’, which is the impression the wire-release mechanism on my cookie scoop makes.

Place the dough mounds on a large plate, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days before baking. The dough is too warm, limp, and soft and is unsuitable for baking until it has been chilled. If you bake with warm, soft, dough your cookies will spread into a big puddle. You don’t want that.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

Bake the cookies at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes, but I strongly encourage the lower end of the range. My dough was rock hard coming out of the refrigerator after two days chilling, and I allowed it to sit on baking sheets at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. I baked for 8 minutes, rotating trays midway through. The tops should barely be set, and will be glossy and appear underdone, but they firm up as they cool. Any longer than 10 minutes and you run the risk of the bottoms browning too much and you don’t want Hard Batch Cookies. Everyone’s coconut oil, oven, climate, and personal preferences are different, but they taste best when they’re soft and not overbaked.

The cookies are so very soft and chewy. They bend and flex before they break and crumble. They’re moist and dense without being heavy. The coconut oil, cornstarch, molasses, and dark brown sugar keeps them so soft and and they soft for days. Brown sugar absorbs atmospheric moisture so the cookies actually get softer over time, rather than drying out.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

The dark brown sugar and molasses take on caramelized flavors while baking and the depth of flavor created is sublime, especially paired with the coconut oil and abundant vanilla. They have a rustic, earthier, bolder flavor that’s sweet enough, but not too sweet. Serve them with a tall glass of milk if you wish, but two shots of espresso or a glass of red wine are more of what I have in mind.

They’re the best possible cookie combination in the whole family of soft batch-ish and vanilla (Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies), brown sugar (Brown Sugar Maple Cookies), molasses (Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies), and coconut oil (Coconut Oil White Chocolate Cookies) cookies I’ve been creating the past 6 months. I think I just found the holy grail of combinations.

If you like brown sugar, molasses, caramel, vanilla, browned butter, snickerdoodles, or cookies where the focus is on scrumptious cookie dough itself, not on all kinds of add-ins and chocolate chips, these are the cookies for you.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

They are insanely good and I have to hide them from myself.

Unfortunately, I know all my own hiding places.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies averiecooks.com

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies - NO butter, NO white sugar. Made with coconut oil. So soft that they're bendable!

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies

No butter, no white sugar, no problem. These are some of the softest and most flavorful cookies I’ve had in ages and remind me of Soft Batch Cookies, with a bolder flavor palette. They’re sweetened entirely with dark brown sugar, and because it has a higher concentration of molasses as well as a bit of molasses added to the dough, these cookies are rich, deep and caramely, with molasses undertones. Those ingredients, and the secret ingredient – a bit of cornstarch – help the cookies stay soft for days and they actually get softer over time. The coconut oil flavors the dough very subtly, and although you can ‘taste it’, it’s much milder and more subtle than coconut flakes, for example. If you’ve never tried baking with coconut oil and replacing it one-for-one with butter in cookies, this small batch recipe is a great place to start.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (softened to the consistency of soft butter; not rock hard and not runny or melted, see below)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (yes tablespoons, not teaspoons), or to taste
1 tablespoon unsulphered mild to medium molasses (use very dark or Blackstrap at your own risk because its very pungent and bitter for baking)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

Directions:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine coconut oil, egg, sugar and beat on medium-high speed to cream until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Note – Coconut oil should be the consistency of soft butter like you’d use to cream with sugar and eggs in traditional cookies. If coconut oil is rock hard, microwave it in a small bowl for 5 to 10 seconds or just until it begins to soften. If coconut oil is runny or melted, place it in the freezer momentarily until it firms up. A tiny amount of runniness is fine; it’s an oil and that happens. But do not use melted or purely liquid coconut oil because you can’t effectively cream a liquid; it would be like trying to cream liquid butter.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, molasses, and beat to incorporate, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour, corn starch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Using a medium cookie scoop, form mounds that are 2 heaping tablespoons in size; or divide dough into approximately 15 to 16 equal-sized pieces. Place dough mounds on a large plate, and slightly flatten each mound. Very important to get the dough mounds in the exact shape you want to bake them in because after chilling, flattening or re-shaping them is very difficult. Cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; up to 5 days. Do not bake these cookies with dough that has not been properly chilled because they will spread.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Place dough on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart; I bake a maximum of 8 per sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tops have just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center. They firm up as they cool and I recommend the lower end of the baking range because they taste best when softer. The cookies in the photos were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated once midway through baking.
  5. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before moving. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Adapted from Coconut Oil White Chocolate Cookies and Brown Sugar Maple Cookies

Only Eats

Related Recipes:

Coconut Oil White Chocolate Cookies – The flavors of coconut and white chocolate are tailor-made for each other in these soft and chewy cookies with vanilla undertones. My first true baked cookie experience with coconut oil and after these, I was hooked

Brown Sugar Maple Cookies – Made with only brown sugar and no white sugar because sometimes darker is the way to go. The cookies have a rich depth flavor with notes of caramel, molasses and the maple pairs perfectly with those flavors

Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies – Soft, tender, yet chewy molasses cookies that are robustly flavored and these cookies fit the bill. They’re very amply flavored with molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Chocolate is used three times- cocoa powder and both chocolate chips and chocolate chunks are used, making these perfect for chocolate lovers and it’s all made in one bowl, no mixer required

Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies – These cookies inspired both today’s recipe and Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies because the dough base is just so scrumptious. There’s nothing fancy in the ingredients, but they combine so wonderfully to produce soft, chewy, and moist cookies with fragrant vanilla notes

Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies averiecooks.com

Browned Butter Caramel and Butterscotch Bars – Nutty and aromatic browned butter is paired with dark brown sugar, sweet butterscotch chips, and creamy caramel to create a dense, comforting, and rich treat. The bars are moist and packed with an incredible depth of flavor. Between the butterscotch chips and the caramels, there’s plenty of texture in these easy-to-make, buttery bars

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups – If you’ve ever had a problem with cookies spreading while baking, it’s impossible with these because they’re baked in a muffin pan. Between the nuttiness and richness from the browned butter, and brown sugar used in the dough, there’s great flavor depth. They’re dense and rich, with the perfect balance of chewy edges, squishy in the middle, and loaded with melted chocolate

Homemade Vanilla Extract – Make it effortlessly at home for pennies on the dollar and never need storebought again

Coconut and Coconut Oil Recipes – 40+ recipes included that either use coconut oil, coconut milk, or shredded coconut. Everything from knockoff Girl Scout Homemade Samoas Bars that taste like the popular cookies to Coconut Milk Kefir to Roasted Fennel with Coconut Oil

Do you like coconut and coconut oil? Do you bake or cook with it?

Dark brown sugar or molasses fan?

If you have favorite recipes, feel free to share the links.

Thanks for the Deluxe Six-Piece Bakeware Set Giveaway and Pure Protein Prize-Pack Giveaway entries!

290 comments on “Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies”

  1. Pingback: recipe | Pearltrees

  2. I love using coconut oil in baked goods! I haven’t used it in cookies yet but that’s about to change very soon… :)

  3. cornstarch is a workhorse…love that…and i had no idea about the pudding thing…i’ve been loving pudding cookies as well…and of course you’ve now given me the answer on why they always turn out so soft and delicious. soft batch cookies were such a favorite of mine growing up too…begging my mom to buy the expenseive name brand soft batch cookies so we could eat them all in one sitting. and i am so pleased to see the molasses flavor…why save such a wonderful flavor for Christmas :-)

    • My thoughts exactly about not saving that flavor only for Christmas. Or just having pumpkin in the fall…but I digresss :) Yes, it’s the cornstarch/modified food starch as it’s called, that makes cookies so soft. Soft without being airy or delicate. More chewy than bendy and not at all cakey; all things I love. And yes, eating the Soft Batch cookies in a DAY, or in a sitting…that was me and my sister growing up!

  4. Soft batch cookies were my weakness growing up. I’m sure I’ve eaten my weight in those cookies! I haven’t tried baking with coconut oil yet – is it worth the hype?

  5. You always make the most incredible cookies that look so mouth-wateringly good! I have pinned these and cannot wait to make them!

  6. Soft cookies are my absolute favorite. No hard cookies around my kitchen. I must try these!

  7. Ugghhhh, I want to eat all of that!! I just started a paleo challenge so your delicious treats are proving difficult to view!! I may need to take a hiatus until I’m finished :-)

  8. Oooo! I love swapping coconut oil for butter! So good!!! These look fantastic!

  9. These cookies came out so pretty. Not the typical shape of a standard cookie. Sorta like a scoop of ice cream. Cool!

  10. Why do you say there is no white sugar, when there is white sugar in the brown sugar? I don’t mind having white sugar in my desserts; I was just wondering why you make that claim. Anyway, the cookies look amazing, and I’m bookmarking the recipe. Lovely photos as well!

  11. I’m a coconut oil freak… must make these!

  12. “…dark and rich cookies so soft that they bend rather than break.” <– This is poetry, or the lyrics to the perfect love song of all time! :D

    These cookies look amazing! I think molasses is acceptable all year 'round, at least it should be.

  13. I’ve become a coconut oil addict of late. I even slather it on my skin – Thai women swear it keeps them young, and I trust their judgement. ;) The texture of these cookies looks divine, and I love that photo of the brown sugar! Gorgeous!

  14. These cookies sounds amazing!! I’m all about a soft batch cookie and brown sugar. I’ve never baked with coconut oil and actually haven’t felt an urge to… until now. I am running out to buy a jar and make these!!

  15. Hmmmmm….first “failure” during mixing. This did not come together….it was more like ‘meal’ than a cookie dough. We live in an arid climate, might that be an issue?

    Nevertheless, undaunted I added about a half cup of cold coffee and pressed on. This looks about right. (Pnut butter cookie consistency) and are I. The fridge as we speak.

    So….
    Dry flour?
    Small egg? (Nah…)
    Coconut oil not soft enough? (Seems unlikely)
    Your thoughts?

    • Yes, overfloured is probably the culprit. If you live in a dry/arid climate, you may need less flour. Depending on brand of coconut oil, how moist or unmoist your brown sugar was, the type of flour you use can all make a difference. I would say cut it back for future attempts and with this one, sounds like the coffee did the trick..another 1 to 2 tbsp of coconut oil would have probably fixed it right up, too. In recipes like these 1 to 2 tbsp of either oil or flour can really impact things. LMK how they bake up!

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  17. I think I need to make these SOON! Oh my goodness!! YUM! :)

    I’d love for you to join me at my Blog Hop! :)

    http://www.pluckys-secondthought.com/pluckys-blog-hop/

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  19. Pingback: $100 Swanson Vitamins Shopping Spree and Coconut Oil Giveaway

  20. Pingback: Soft Batch Cookies. | the MF Dre

  21. Enjoyed by the entire family! My middle child thought they’d make delicious ice cream sandwiches. OH MY! I might not press them down next time and leave the “feathered” impression from my cookie scoop. Also tend to think some chopped crystallized ginger and/or golden raisins would be delicious. Any thoughts on using oat flour in place of AP?

    • Everything you just said…I drooled :) Raisins and crystallized ginger would be lovely (I have to be careful what I blog about b/c tons of people hate raisins and many would say they couldn’t find crys ginger, but I love them both and think they’d be amazing…I can also see like dried apricot chunks working). I loved the feathered impression and usually don’t keep it but kept it for these and was glad I did.

      Oat flour in place of AP. I would use slightly less and go slowly when adding it b/c the dough could get stiff and crumbly in a hurry. Because it’s a denser flour, you won’t get that soft-batch softness but more of a heartiness. Have you seen these? http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2013/02/thick-and-chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookies.html A totally different cookie but you may like them based on what you just wrote.

      Anyway thanks for the field report and please write back and LMK what you try next!

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  23. Pingback: Coconut Oil Brown Sugar Cookies

  24. http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2013/02/soft-batch-dark-brown-sugar-coconut-oil-cookies.html

    Um, totally want to make these, and as luck would have it, I have all the ingredients!!

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