This recipe for Peach-Brown Butter Shortbread is a Smitten Kitchen's recipe, and it is one of the recipes featured in "Home Baked Comfort" by Kim Laidlaw.
One of the ingredient used in Peach-Brown Butter Shortbread squares is brown butter. Butter is melted over medium-low heat and is heated and boiled until it turns brown and starts to smell nutty, stir frequently to avoid burnt. Then it is transfered to a heatproof bowl and freeze for 30 minutes just until solid but not completely frozen. Well, I made the brown butter but did not use it! Simply because at the end of 30 minutes, the butter is still in liquid state, and did not seem to harden at all. Since I was in a rush, I did not want to wait, so I've used a new block of cold butter instead, cut to cubes before adding to the rest of the ingredients for the shortbread.
The handy food processor is great in mixing the shortbread dough, and it was done in just seconds. Two thirds of it (recipes says 3/4) is used as the base, pressing them firmly on the bottom of a greased baking tray, which I lined with parchment paper. I've used canned peaches, drain, sliced them thinly, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange the sliced peaches over the shortbread dough in the pan. Scatter the remaining shortbread dough over the top of the peaches.
Bake until golden brown. Leave to cool and cut into squares to serve.
I brought the whole tray to my sister's house that evening, and we've enjoyed it with scoops of ice cream.
Peach-Brown Butter Shortbread
(Home Baked Comfort, Kim Laidlaw)
makes about 2 dozen squares
1 cup (8oz/250gm) cold unsalted butter
1 cup (8oz/250gm) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2-3/4 cups (14 oz/440gm) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
2 juicy, ripe but slightly firm peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. The melted butter will foam, then become clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Watch the butter carefully at the end, as it turns brown quickly. Chill in the freezeer until solid but not completely frozen, about 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F (190C). Butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 table knives, blend the solidified brown butter and the egg into the dry ingredients. The brown butter mixture will be crumbly. Pat three-fourths of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Arrange the peach slices on top in a single layer. Crumble the remaining brown butter mixture evenly over the peaches.
Bake until the top is slightly brown and you can see a little colour around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut into squares.
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