Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sugar shortage

Somehow I managed to run out of granulated (castor) sugar earlier this week--a potentially anxiety-inducing event at any time, made even worse when I briefly thought I would have to produce a baked good before I could get to the grocery store on Thursday. I was calmed, however, when I remembered that I did have a full bag of brown sugar on hand, and in that state imagined that I had recently come across a recipe for Brown Sugar Shortbread. Minimal Googling revealed this to have been a delusion on my part, and by then the reason for baking had also evaporated, whatever it was. But now I wanted some brown sugar shortbread, so I decided to make up my own. And when I noticed that I had some pre-made browned butter waiting around to be used up, I decided to go over the top while I was at it.

Brown butter & sugar shortbread
This recipe is based on Ratio's 1-2-3 cookie formula, and it is simple and delicious. This could be a candidate for this year's Eight Days of Christmas Baking.

2 oz/60 g brown sugar
4 oz/120 g browned butter
pinch salt
1 tsp/5 g vanilla
6 oz/180 g all-purpose/plain flour
turbinado sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F/180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix the first four ingredients in a food processor (or mixing method of your choice) until thoroughly combined, then add the flour in slowly. You should have a soft but crumbly dough when finished.

You can bake this immediately, or shape into a log to slice and bake later. When ready to go in the oven, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating tray(s) halfway through cooking time. When lightly brown around the edges, remove from oven and let cool on trays for 2-3 minutes before removing cookies to a rack to cool thoroughly.

Makes 10-18 cookies.

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