Don’t befooled by the rustic appearance of these cookies. Or come to think of it, it’llbe better if you are fooled and expect nothing. You’re in for a surprise. Thebuttery crunch of shortbread is unmistakable, and the nutty flavor of brownsugar mixed with vanilla will make it impossible for you to resist them.
This is thesecond week of our 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, the group that Brenda puttogether. Want different and fabulous sweet treats for December? Then visit everyThursday and there will be one waiting for you. And then you can go check therest of the group, and the list will be amazing. And there’s a Pinterest board too. Isn’t that super nice of us?
Can this be the best tasting, most addictive shortbread ever? I think so and you might agree.
There issomething about brown butter. It might have a place of it’s own in the food pyramid, unlike any other thing. Is it possible to use brown butter from now on inevery single recipe that calls for melted butter? Or am I exaggerating a bit? IfI am it’s just a bit. Must be the butter overdose after eating these. It’s thebrown butter fueled brain talking.
Now, ifyou’re frowning your forehead or just sighing resigned, unable to understandsuch a blunt advocacy of butter, I will tell you that, you still haven’t seen apicture of these in tiny bites filled with dulce de leche. And worse, youhaven’t seen me eat many of them in a few minutes. They were just a few bites.And they were worth every single greasy, artery-clogging calorie.
Now, aboutthe actual recipe.
Brown butter goes from clear to browned in a second. Muchlike caramel suddenly turns a very deep amber. So after melting the butter itwill bubble a lot and suddenly the bubbles will subside. That’s when it turnsnutty and darker. It takes about 10 minutes. So don’t go answer the phone,check your e-mail or stuff like that. Stay by the stove. Please.
BROWN BUTTER SHORTBREAD CRISPS
from Best Dessert Book Ever, by Maida Heatter
8 oz. (225g) unsalted butter
2 teaspoonslemon juice
1 cupunsifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoonbaking powder
1 teaspoonvanilla extract or paste
1 Tbs milk
¾ cupgranulated sugar
In a mediumbowl, put ice cubes and fill with cold water, so you have an ice cold waterbath to stop the browning of the butter.
In a mediumsaucepan melt butter. Stir often and let it boil. The mixture will be yellowand the bubbles will be large. After 8 to 10 minutes it will start to darken and smell nutty. Dark flecks will appear in the bottom of the pan. Remove from heatand add lemon juice. Stand back, since it will bubble up furiously. Put the saucepan on top of the icy water and let thebutter firm up.
Transferthe cold browned butter to a large bowl. Add, sifting, the flour, cornstarch,baking powder and salt. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add vanilla,milk and sugar. Mix until everything is well combined. It may appear a bit dry.If you need to, put everything on a working surface and knead it into a ball.Don´t over work the dough.
Make acilinder and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until it is firmenough to cut without cracking or loosing its shape.
About 15minutes before cutting the cookies, preheat oven to 300º F / 150º C.
Line abaking tray with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, cut ½ inch rounds and putside by side on the paper, leaving an inch in between them.
Bake forabout 30 minutes, until they are a bit golden.
Transfer towire rack and cool completely. Store in a covered tin.