Simplicity meets sophistication in this browned-butter shortbread cookie recipe. Other interesting flavors of shortbread cookies are:
Shortbread cookies were traditionally served at Christmas and New Year’s in Scotland. During many long, dark, and cold winter months, people there customarily made round cakes to entice the sun to return. These cakes eventually evolved into flat, crisp shortbread cookies.
They were originally made with just oats, butter, sugar, and salt. Nowadays, wheat flour has earned the right to substitute for oats in many recipes. Additional ingredients dramatically enhance taste and texture.
For my taste, however, traditional shortbread cookies with only basic ingredients are always the best. I will take you through this browned-butter shortbread cookie recipe step-by-step. I will be thorough, but you can also find this recipe in Cookies! Favorite Good Housekeeping Recipes published by Hearst Books. However, I use 1/3 cup of sugar instead of 1/2 cup as called for in the book.
For ingredients, you only need:
|Unsalted butter,||¾ cup or 1½ sticks|
|All-purpose flour||1¾ cups|
Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Put the cake pan on a sheet of parchment paper, and make a circle outline of its bottom. Cut out the circle and line the cake pan.
An old Scottish baking trick calls for cooking half of the butter until milk solids at the bottom turn brown.
So, bring 6 Tbsp. of softened butter to a boil over low heat. Stir occasionally to keep it from burning. When the milk solids at the bottom turn brown, remove butter from heat. Pour it into a small bowl and refrigerate until almost firm.
I like to use the butterfat residue left by the cooked butter to grease the parchment paper and side of the round cake pan. This makes it so much easy to remove shortbread cookie from its baking pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
At medium speed, cream sugar, cooled browned butter, and the remaining 6 Tbsp. of softened butter until fluffy.
Gently mix in flour and salt just until crumbs form. Do this step by hand to avoid overmixing.
Press shortbread crumbs onto bottom of prepared cake pan. Bake for about 40 minutes until cookies are brown around edge. Cool in baking pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Remove shortbread cookie from baking pan by turning it upside down onto a plate. Gently lift parchment paper off bottom of cookie. Transfer it to a cutting board. While shortbread cookie is still warm, cut it into 16 wedges.
Cool cookies completely on wire rack.
You can easily modify this shortbread cookie recipe by:
- Substitute 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar for 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
- Add 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.