Browned Butter Shortbread is one of my favorite holiday cookies. My version is a thick shortbread, cut into wedges and dipped in chocolate, with coarse sugar and flaked sea salt sprinkled on for a salty/sweet garnish.
I don’t know why, but I only tend to make shortbread around the holidays. It’s really a tragedy. It’s certainly not the most exciting or photogenic cookie, but dare I say that I find comfort in its brown, plainness?
I mean all the best food is brown, isn’t it?
So while these might not be the stunner of your cookie platter, I will tell you, if you’re into shortbread (duh) you need to try this recipe. It’s the perfect combination of buttery, crumb-y (but not too crumb-y), melt in your mouth texture that you look for in shortbread. Plus, I dip mine in chocolate, and sprinkle it with both coarse sugar AND flaked sea salt, because why not.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve to making great shortbread, so let’s chat!
So, first, I make my shortbread with browned butter. You certainly don’t have to, but I urge you to give it a try; it adds a rich, deeper flavor to your shortbread.The thing about this recipe that is slightly annoying is that after you brown the butter, you need to bring it back to a solid state. You can do this two ways…first you can chill it in the fridge until it’s solid and then set it on the counter until it comes back to room temperature, OR you can allow it to come back to a solid state all at room temperature. Of course chilling it in the fridge is the quicker of the two methods, but it’s completely your call.
Once the butter is browned and at room temperature you can go ahead and make your cookie dough. The cookie dough is ridiculously good on its own. I may have sampled a few spoonfuls.
Second, I like to bake my shortbread in a 10-inch springform pan…this way I can remove the sides of the pan and cut it into pretty wedges. Plus, I like my shortbread on the thicker side. So yes, you can ABSOLUTELY make this recipe in a 9×13 pan… but it won’t be as thick as mine and you will need to adjust the bake time down a bit.
Thirds, when your shortbread has baked, let it cool for about 10 minutes or so, remove the edges of the pan and cut it when it’s warm. I know this might seem strange, but cooled shortbread is firm, and if you slice it warm it’s not only easier, but your slices will be perfect!
And finally, once it’s completely cooled I like to melt some chocolate…
…and dip the edges! Not only is it tasty, but it gives you a great place to pretty-up your shortbread! You could add sprinkles…but I add coarse sugar and flaked sea salt to mine. It gives the edges a salty/sweet combo that is super yum!
Don’t let the simpleness of this cookie fool you…there is a ton of flavor going on here.
- 1½ cups butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- optional - flaked sea salt and/or turbinado sugar for garnish
- In a medium saucepan on medium-low heat, melt the butter and bring it to a boil. Swirling the pot consistently continue to boil the butter until the milk solids begin to brown and the butter turns an amber color. 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 up quickly, but you will need to bring it back to room temperature before continuing.
- Preheat the oven to 325°. 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. 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 chocolate and place on to the parchment lined pan.
- Sprinkle the chocolate with flaked sea salt and turbinado sugar.
- Allow the chocolate to set.
- Store airtight for up to 5 days.