Brown Butter Shortbread with Peaches and Nectarines

 

BROWN BUTTER SHORTBREAD WITH PEACHES AND NECTARINES

 

Every summer, I renew my love affair with fresh stone fruit. Taking a cue from Deb Perlman’s (aka Smitten Kitchen) Peach Shortbread, I made her brown butter shortbread and topped it with peaches and nectarines.  This cookie disguised as a fruit bar doesn’t disappoint as an afternoon treat or evening dessert with a scoop of ice cream, or as I like it,  a slice in the morning with a cup of coffee.

 

Of course you can use any shortbread recipe you favor, but trust me, take the time to melt the sweet butter to its amber state.  When the butter has melted, just place it, bits and all, in a bowl and chill. When solid, cut it into your dry ingredients.  Anytime I make shortbread now, brown butter is the way to go! 

 

When you have your shortbread dough pressed into your pan, of course you can get fancy and design a pattern with the fruit you’re using; however, I love a rustic look, so I scatter my pieces of fruit. You can reserve some of the shortbread and make it into a crumble to add the top if you like.  This shortbread will be the base for other fruits based on seasonality.  I can see any type of berry, apricots, plums and figs as an amazing compliment to the shortbread. 

 

It doesn’t matter if you use yellow peaches and nectarines over the white, but I happen to prefer the white-fleshed fruit.  The fruit and shortbread bake together with the juice and brown butter infusing into a sweet-nutty taste. When you’re ready to serve, just cut into squares and indulge!  The finished cookie-bar will melt in your mouth with each bite.

This sounds more elaborate than it is!  This is a simple shortbread that uses chilled brown butter instead of sweet butter.  I like to use stone fruit, but any fruit will work.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

  • 2 3/4 cups, plus 2 tbs All Purpose Flour

  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

  • 1/8 tsp grated Nutmeg, fresh if you have

  • 1/4 tsp Salt

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, cold

  • 1 large Egg, room temperature

  • 2 Fresh Peaches and/or Nectarine, sliced into medium-thick wedges I leave the skins on

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to  375*
    Butter or spray a 9x13 pan and set aside

  2. To make the brown butter, place the butter in a small/medium saucepan and heat over a  medium flame.  Keep an eye on it as it melts and begins to foam.  It will turn a "clear golden" color and then begin to darken.  Stir frequently, incorporating any dark bits you see on the bottom.  Keep your eyes on the butter!  When you see it turning brown remove from the heat immediately.  If kept on the stove longer, it will burn very quickly.  Set your brown butter in the freezer until solid (up to 30 minutes.)

  3. In a medium bowl, combine your dry ingredients (sugar, baking powder, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and whisk together with a fork.

  4. With a fork or pastry blender, incorporate the chilled brown butter and egg into the dry ingredients.  The mixture should be crumbly.

  5. Add roughly 3/4 of the mixture to the bottom of your pan, pressing into the pan to form a bottom crust.  You reserve the remaining quarter to use a crumble on the top or use the entire mixture for your bottom crust.
    Add your sliced fruit by scattering or laying in a pattern of your choice.

  6. Bake in the oven for at least 30-minutes or until the top is slightly brown and you see color along the edges.
    Cool completely in the pan prior to cutting and serving.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is based on Smitten Kitchen's Peach Shortbread.