Muscovado is an unrefined (or partially refined) brown sugar. It has the color of deep mahogany and smells like the sugar top of crème brûlée. The flavor is of deep molasses—far more interesting than white sugar. Muscovado is a rather wet (or moist) sugar that clumps easily, and this because much of the molasses remains rather than being filtered out as it is with white sugar. The muscovado clumps often end up in whatever it is you are making. I love this quality of muscovado—it means I find little caramelized sugar pockets (those dark flecks you see in the photos) as I nibble on these cookies. But if uniformity is more your style, simply sift the clumps before creaming the sugar with the butter. —Ashley Rodriguez
22 to 24 cookies
sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, soft
(80 grams) muscovado sugar (sifted if you don’t want little sugar clumps)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light, about 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times during the process to be sure all the butter and sugar are getting properly creamed.
Add the vanilla extract, then mix to combine.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. This aerates the flour and combines the ingredients together without the messy step of sifting.
With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms. This takes about 30 second to 1 minute, as the dough first appears crumbly and dry but eventually comes together.
Place the dough on a sheet of parchment and roll it into a log about 1 1/2 inches wide by 8 inches long. Wrap the parchment like a Tootsie Roll and squeeze the dough together to form a tight log. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight, which is preferred.
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Slice the cookies 1/4-inch thick and place 12 on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are just golden.
Let cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Store in an airtight container, where the cookies will keep for up to 1 week. The dough can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.