peach brown butter shortbread

September 7th, 2010

As September brings the start of a new season, I find myself reminiscing about the awesome fruits and vegetables I’ve found at the market. It’s been such a good year for so many things, but for me, peaches have been the stand out star of the season. Each week I get them and am blown away by their sweet, juicy fruit. I just can’t get enough of those little orbs. Perhaps that’s why, when I saw a post over on Smitten Kitchen for peach shortbread I practically ran home and got to work. But of course I had to wait until my weekly trip to the market to pick up a new batch of peaches. Oh boy, the wait was worth it my friends. What could be better that peaches and a brown butter shortbread? This year, I’m not really sure if it can be beat.

I love making brown butter. I guess I like seeing and smelling the transformation, it might be one of the best smells ever. Anywho, because you need chilled butter for shortbread, this recipe requires you to make the brown butter, then freeze it immediately after. After the butter is solid again, you simply work the butter into a dry base that’s been jazzed up with cinnamon and nutmeg. Next you’ll press that into a pan, neatly layer the lovely peaches over top and sprinkle the remaining shortbread over top to create a nice little crumbly topping. Pop it in the oven and get ready for awesomeness.

I was good and waited for the shortbread to cool before digging in… As soon as I tasted the first piece, I immediately wanted a second. I kept it at one, but somehow over the course of the weekend the shortbread slowly began disappearing, secret bite after secret bite. Seriously, the shortbread is rich and crumbly and really shows off the brown butter while the peaches keep their delicious sweetness and just sort of perfectly meld with the crust. Oh, and a crumbly topping never hurt anything. I think this might be the perfect farewell to summer fruits.

peach brown butter shortbread
adapted from smitten kitchen
makes 9, 3″x3″ squares, this recipe can be easily doubled

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
1-2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

** Please note there is 1/2 cooling period between the first and second step**

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk.
Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly.
Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.
This should for 3-4 days in the fridge.

Comments: 25 Total

  1. Lucy

    September 7, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I was sososo ready to make these this weekend but never quite got around to it. Glad to see another rave review of them!

  2. Shaheen

    September 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Ooooh yum yum! I saw this on SK and bookmarked it instantly.. and now a thumbs up from you means there is no way I can’t make this next year (yeah sucks that peaches got over too soon here)

  3. Lis

    September 8, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Have just made this but with blueberries and strawberries as we’re not into peach season in Australia yet and it is amazing! Thank you for the recipe!

  4. Thea

    September 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    They look so good. Have to try it some time!

  5. Kasey

    September 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I, too, am a huge fan of brown butter. Not only does it taste delicious, but it makes my whole house smell like an intoxicating bakery. And I can’t get enough of peaches. Perfect combination!

  6. Dana

    September 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I’ve gotten into the habit of browning butter any time melted butter is called for. It just makes everything that little bit better.

  7. julianne

    September 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    i gave this a try this weekend and it was fantastic! easy and straightforward and well worth the extra few minutes to brown and freeze the butter. a beautiful way to say farewell to summer. thanks for the recipe. :)

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