Well, it’s official. I have become obsessed with brown butter. Ever since the last Daring Baker’s Challenge, all I can think about is that velvety nutty smell filling my house, and the taste…oh the taste! I utterly HAD to have some again. And since I had a few peaches getting soft on my counter that I had intended for the upcoming Daring Cook’s Challenge (oh, look at that, another hint!) but ended up not using, I wanted a recipe to incorporate both. And what do you know, it’s darling Smitten Kitchen
to the rescue. It was like she read my mind – the second I wanted a peachy/brown butter recipe, BAM, she posted one. Man I love her.
These bars are fantastic! They are really light – in texture and flavor. They aren’t overly sweet or rich, definitely a perfect “end of summer, oh my god it’s hot” dessert. The flavor of the brown butter really comes through, and my super ripe peaches add a perfectly peachy punch. Plus I love how you can see bits of yellow, orange and red poking through the crumble topping.
I found these bars to be challenging to make. Not because they were hard. They weren’t. In fact, I am so glad that they were really super easy to make because I decided to make it harder on myself. See, I’ve been reading a lot on “baby wearing” lately, and how good it is for the baby to be with you while you do your daily tasks – that they not only enjoy it, but that it is good for their mental development. So we got a great baby carrier, and the little cupcake DOES love it! We take walks almost every day, and she has gone to the farmers market with me in it. Before now, though, I had kept it strictly to walking activities – I hadn’t really done any household chores or anything. However, on this day, my husband was gone, and I didn’t want to just put her in her swing/bouncy chair/on the floor where the dogs will surely maul her when I am not looking. In the carrier we went! And let me tell you – it was nice having her there, but it was HARD! Why do you ask? Because this was the only thing I could see:
I kept getting a crook in my neck because I was having to look around her cute little head that was so perfectly in my way! (And yes, it was rather difficult to take those pictures, but I did it just for you!)
I’ve been storing mine in the fridge, and I really love them cold! If you are short on time, or you happen to not be utterly in love with brown butter like I am, you can omit the step of browning the butter, you can use the same amount of softened unsalted butter and increase the flour to a full 3 cups. Although why you would want to do this, I don’t know.
Brown Butter Peach Shortbread Bars
1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) white sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (12 5/8 ounces or 359 grams) cups all-purpose flour (or you can measure 3 cups and remove 2 tablespoons flour)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces or 227 grams) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)
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 (190°C).
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.
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.