Monday, September 6, 2010

Shirley Shortbread

I saw this recipe for Peach Shortbread a few days ago and thought it looked delicious. I wanted to make a dessert that would last us throughout the long holiday weekend. This looked like it would fit the bill perfectly. Yeah I ain't pretty. If you want pretty, head on over to Smitten Kitchen and look at her pictures. They look wonderful. My tummy thinks they are beauteous though. And in matters of the culinary variety, my belly is boss.

I made these guys in my slightly larger than 9x13 pan, so they are slightly thinner than the original version. I also think I may have reserved too much of the shortbread to sprinkle on the top. The topping seemed a bit thick. The bars probably would have been cuter if the fruit was peeking out a bit more.

Also, I swapped out the peaches for nectarines. I can't stand the fuzzy skin on peaches. (It always feels like I'm eating velveteen or moleskin fabric. Bleck.) Nectarines are just a defuzzed version of a peach, so it's not a far fetched substitution.

Do yourself a favor, if you make these, cut them into small squares. I've discovered that no matter the size of the piece on your plate, you always want at least one or two (or three) slices more.

Oh, you're probably wondering why I've titled this post Shirley. Check out this classic Sesame Street Clip for the answer.

Gonk, gonk, GONK!

Peach Shortbread from Smitten Kitchen
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 freshly 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 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. Butter a 9×13" 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 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.

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