During the holidays I like to find and create new baked treats to share, of course, but I also really enjoy revisiting the classics. Last weekend I was craving some good old fashioned shortbread cookies, but with a brown butter twist. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’re surely aware of the brown butter craze sweeping over the foodie world and that I am enthusiastically taking part in it.
Since shortbread is essentially three ingredients and butter is the clear star, I knew that a brown butter twist would be fantastic. I also figured that it was a good opportunity to splurge for a higher quality butter, like Kerrygold, which is higher in fat and produces an even richer and more crumbly cookie. I can guess what you’re thinking. You’re seeking out a butter that is higher in fat? I promise, it’s worth it.
These cookies are a perfect mid-afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea. But if you can’t wait and end up having a few for breakfast I’ll completely understand.
Dough that is high in fat (such as shortbread) needs to be pricked before baking. These holes create vents for steam created while baking and prevent the cookie from billowing. Use a fork or toothpick to dock the dough.
A rich and crumbly cookie with the nutty flavor of brown butter.
- 8 ounces (225 grams) salted butter, cut into cubes*
- 3/4 cup (175 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- Sanding sugar, for dusting
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Continue to cook the butter until it turns deep golden brown. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. Pour the butter into a bowl and chill until solidified.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease a 9 or 10 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Remove the butter from the fridge and let it come back to room temperature. You don't want it to be liquid at all, but it should still be soft.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
- Press the dough into the prepared tart pan. Use a knife to cut dough into 8 wedges and prick the dough with a toothpick or small dowel. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Bake until lightly golden brown, about 1 hour. Use a knife to re-cut the shortbread into wedges while the dough is still hot and soft. Let cool completely before serving.
- Store shortbread at room temperature in an airtight container for several days.
*You may use any kind of salted butter, but I would recommend a high quality Irish butter such as Kerrygold.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart .