The nutty flavour of brown butter is a modern twist on this quintessential Christmas cookie. But, diehard traditionalists, don’t fret! You can make a great classic shortbread simply by skipping the brown butter prep and using room-temp butter in its place.
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Place butter in a small stainless-steel saucepan and set over medium. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter begins to turn brown and has a nutty aroma, 8–10 minutes in total. If very foamy while bubbling, it may be hard to check the colour, so, using a spoon, scoop from the bottom to check it. It’s better to take butter off the heat early and check the colour than to overcook it. When browned, immediately pour into a stainless-steel bowl, adding all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate, allowing butter to cool completely and solidify. This will take 1–2 hours. If making ahead, you can refrigerate it, covered, for up to 2 days. Before preparing cookie dough, let the butter come to room temperature, 45–60 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir flour with salt. Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C). Place butter in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer on low speed, beat in sugar, then vanilla. Gradually add and stir in flour mixture. Turn into a greased 8 or 9 in (20 or 23 cm) round fluted pan, or an 8 in (2 L) square baking dish. Press into bottom of pan to form a smooth, even layer. Using a floured fork, prick the dough all over.
Bake in centre of oven until lightly golden around edges, 20–25 minutes. Remove to a rack. Gently prick with a fork once more. Cut into 12–16 pieces. Let cool completely. If made ahead, shortbread will keep well, stored in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 1 week (or frozen for up to 1 month).
Calories 134, Protein 1g, Carbohydrates 13g, Fat 9g.
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