December 7, 2016

Browned Butter Shortbread

I have an affinity for shortbread. While my mom's Scotch Shortbread was the classic, I've experimented through the years with Chai Shortbread, Chocolate Shortbread, a healthier version, a Mexican Spiced Version and my favorite Toffee Shortbread. Well, my previous favorite, I guess I should say because this Browned Butter version from Cookies and Cups takes the cake for me now.

I find it a bit odd that my favorite Christmas cookie is something I'd typically classify as boring, but apparently I like butter and sugar a lot. This version is nutty and wonderful and perfection.

Browned Butter Shortbread
1 1/2 cups butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Flaked sea salt

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter and bring it to a boil. Swirl the pot consistently, allow the butter to boil until the milk solids begin to brown, and the butter turns an amber color. You'll notice a nutty fragrance. Allow the butter to cool completely, and becomes solid again. You can allow the butter to do this all at room temperature, or you can chill the butter in the refrigerator to firm it more quickly, but you will need to bring it back to room temperature before continuing.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat a 10- inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Cut a parchment paper round to fit in the bottom of the pan. Place the round in the sprayed pan, and spray again. Set aside.

Once the butter is solid at room temperature, place in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar, and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed until pale in color.
Add in the salt and vanilla, and mix until smooth.

Turn the mixer to low, and add in the flour, mixing until combined. The dough will be dry. Press the dough into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center is set. Allow the shortbread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen, and then remove the sides of the pan. Cut the shortbread into wedges while it is still warm, but don't remove the slices from the pan until completely cooled.

Once the shortbread is cooled, carefully remove each slice from the pan. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in 30 second increments, stirring after each. Dip the edge of the shortbread into the melted chocolat,e and place on to the parchment lined pan. Sprinkle the chocolate with flaked sea salt. Allow the chocolate to set.

Store airtight for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

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