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

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.

Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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


  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

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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

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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.

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

  1. Question: Do you think it would be ok if I used honey instead of molasses? Or would that completely ruin the recipe?

    • Honey and molasses aren’t really interchangeable from a texture or sweetness or baking chemistry standpoint and what each do under heat in the oven. I don’t think it would ruin the recipe per se, and I still do think they’d turn out, but they wouldn’t taste the same. Try it – you have nothing to lose!

  2. These sound very interesting except for coconut oil…My husband and I are both allergic to coconut anything what if anything could you substitute with

    • I have so many cookie recipes made with butter that I’d probably just recommend another recipe since I know those are tested. But if you’d like to try with melted butter, you could here. It would more than likely be fine, but I haven’t tested it that way.

  3. Hi, can I use almond or coconut flour instead? Thank you.

  4. Hi these look solo delicious! However I baked them and they turned out very flat! What do you think went wrong?

  5. OMG….I just found this recipe and they look delicious. I feel the need to make the dough right now so I can have them as soon as possible. I am so a simple cookie fan…..these sound and look fabulous! I can’t wait to try them!

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  7. Officially my new cookie obsession. SO good!

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  10. The ‘dark brown’ sugar you have pictured is not. It is light brown sugar.

  11. A fresh batch just came out of the oven, DELISH! I finally have a dairy free cookie recipe that actually tastes fantastic, definitely a keeper in my recipe books, thanks for sharing!!

  12. These look delightful! My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures. Great job!

  13. Hi there, my husband and I made these tonight and just loved them! We haven’t used coconut oil in baking before, but loved the result!! Thanks!

  14. Real brown sugar is not white sugar with syrup added. Look at the label to get real brown sugar. C & H Sugar is one company that has real brown sugar.

  15. Hi Averie,

    I made these cookies and love the texture, they are so soft, however, I can’t decide if I like the molasses in there or not. Have you ever tried omitting the molasses? If I leave it out next time, do you think I would need to make any other adjustments to the recipe to compensate?

    • I haven’t tried eliminating the molasses and you may need to make other adjustments if you do. I LOVE love love molasses so for me, I would never think of eliminating it but it’s a unique flavor and everyone’s tastes are different. Thanks for trying the recipe.

  16. Yummy! I just licked the bowl clean. I am waiting on the cookies to cool in the freezer before I bake them! I didn’t have brown or real sugar so I mixed coconut sugar, Xylitol, and powdered milk (don’t ask me why the milk I just needed a filler to make it a full cup I guess lol) I also used gluten free flour. The batter tastes so good I almost didn’t want to bake them. Thank you for the recipe!!!

    • I love your creativity with how you came up with a full cup of sugar, without actually using any ‘real sugar’. That’s awesome! And so glad you love the batter…me too. I could eat it without ever baking the cookies as well :)

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  18. I have to say I tried the dough with major trepidation – I had no idea what kind of molasses I was using – but I was so surprised at the flavor; it was delicious! They’re in the oven now :) Thanks for the recipe! 

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  20. I made these tonight but I used organic coconut sugar instead of brown sugar & molasses. I also just realized as I’m looking at the recipe again that I accidently used baking powder instead of baking soda lol. Anyway they still came out fluffy, soft, and delicious!

  21. I just made these and while the dough didn’t seem too wet, the first 6 cookies that went into the oven became one GIANT cookie. I chilled the dough for 7 hours prior to baking. I’m wondering if it’s because I’m at high altitude (4500′) and maybe I should have added more flour to the dough. Any ideas or suggestions? The flavor is great, but I can’t get them off the pan!

  22. To add to my previous comment, I ended up splitting the remaining 9 balls of dough into 18 and baked for 8 minutes, which basically gave me lace cookies but they were small enough that they didn’t just all run into each other. They really do taste wonderful, so I think I’ll try making them again, but experimenting with adding additional flour. Do you ever use whole wheat or bread flour for your cookies? I’ve recently discovered your website and everything looks AMAZING! 

    • Hi Megan, thanks for the compliments and glad that the cookies tasted great. Being that you live at altitude, you will need to make changes with cookie recipes from what I’ve heard. I live at sea level so have never had to play around with altitude baking. On the King Arthur Flour website there is a good chart for what to do when you live at certain elevations, based on feet, i.e. add more flour, add more leavners, etc. and sounds like with a touch more of each, your cookies won’t spread like that. Also, make sure you’re baking on a Silpat AND using King Arthur Flour, cookie success tutorial here :)

  23. hey! going to make these tonight for thanksgiving tomorrow, i only have olive oil… ran out of coconut oil and we have no butter either hahah! so they might be a huge disaster but ill never know until i try, so ill try to improvise… thanks for the great recipe I’m excited to see how they taste :) 

  24. This is a great recipe that held up well to a few tweaks of mine. I wanted to make pandan-flavored cookies and thought coconut oil would be a good pairing. (If people aren’t familiar with pandan, it’s an aromatic leaf widely used in cooking across Southeast Asia. It’s grassy and slightly nutty; think matcha with a tropical twist.) I heated chopped thawed pandan leaves in coconut oil on the stove, blended the mixture, sieved it, allowed it to solidify and proceeded with the recipe using the now green infused oil. I held back a little on the vanilla and added a small slug of bottled pandan flavoring for extra aroma and color. (Both frozen pandan leaves and the bottled “extract” can be purchased very cheaply at Asian markets.) I like my cookies a little less sweet, so I added 3/4 c. packed brown sugar instead of the full cup, and the cookies turned out fine. That said, I did drizzle the cookies with a simple syrup of lime juice and sugar as they came out of the oven. The pandan, coconut, and vanilla harmonized nicely, and that moist, squidgy interior… wow. Thanks for this awesome recipe, Averie.

    • Wow, you should be on Top Chef! Or Chopped with all those secret ingredients :)

      I am not personally familiar with pandan but your description sounds lovely, plus a simple syrup of lime juice, with the coconut oil and the brown sugar, they must have been incredible!

  25. We love baking with coconut oil. It makes treats so yummy without as much guilt! Thanks for sharing. We can’t wait to try!

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