September 7, 2010

... Peach Shortbread

Bars are never something that I think about too much when I'm in the mood to bake.  I'm not sure why... there are so many varieties and they're usually pretty easy to make (and the fact that I just posted on Lemon Bars kind of makes this whole paragraph a lie... but we won't go there).  Regardless, when I came across this recipe I knew it was definitely one I wanted to try.

Peaches, shortbread, brown butter... love, yum, ok!  I've never had anything bad from her site so I had no doubt this time would be any different.

And I was right.  These were easy as... well, I would say pie... but these are way easier than pie.

Peach Shortbread

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8- and 1/4-inch thick)

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 will the very second that you turn around to do something else.  Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 9x13 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.  Using 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.

Taylor's Notes:
I'm still getting the hang of browning butter, so I keep trying knowing what an incredible difference it makes.  It's certainly something that takes some practice and patience to get it brown, but not burn it.  You can make this recipe with softened butter instead and it will be good, but man, what a difference brown butter can make.

I definitely think the best way to blend the flour mixture with the butter and egg is to start with a fork and then use your fingertips.  It's messy, yes, but isn't that the fun of baking??  


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