brown butter peach shortbread

peach shortbread 5

I’m in fruity dessert mode lately. Blueberries, blackberries, plums. The peaches came from my coworker, which is always fun – people bring me fruit at work, and I bring it back to them a few days later, mixed with butter and sugar.

peach shortbread 1

I have another coworker with an apple tree, and that’s a little easier on me since apples have a long shelf-life. The peaches I was given were already very ripe, so I needed something simple that I could bake when I already had dinner to make and mountains of post-vacation laundry to do. Unfortunately, I’d just used up my ace-in-the-hole tart dough on store-bought peaches.

peach shortbread 2

Fortunately, I found a simple but delicious recipe. This shortbread has the extra step of browning and chilling the butter before cutting it into the dry ingredients, which doesn’t take long and adds a little extra specialness to the dessert. The peaches were small and impossible to remove from the pit, so I skipped peeling, pitting, and slicing in favor of cutting chunks directly from the seed.

peach shortbread 3

It might have been easy to put together, but the flavor didn’t reflect that. With just a few basic ingredients and plenty of peaches, it tastes like the best of summer fruit. That’s exactly what I’m in the mood for right now.

peach shortbread 4

Printer Friendly Recipe
Brown Butter Peach Shortbread (rewritten but not changed from Smitten Kitchen)

Makes 24 2-inch squares

The only part of this recipe I thought was annoying was chipping the hardened browned butter out of the bowl. I might line a bowl with wax paper next time so I can just lift the butter out and scrape it off the paper into the food processor.

The peaches my coworker gave me were very small, and I used eight or nine of them, not two. I did not peel them, which was not a problem in the final dish.

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (12.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between ⅛- and ¼-inch thick)

1. In a medium not-nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until the milk solids brown and sink and the butter smells slightly nutty. Immediately remove it from the heat and pour the butter into a heatproof bowl. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor; process until the ingredients are mixed, a few pulses. Add the browned butter and process until the largest butter pieces are the size of peas. Add the egg; process until the dough just comes together into a crumbly ball.

3. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick spray. Press three-quarters of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Evenly spread the peaches over the dough, then scatter the remaining dough crumbs over the fruit.

4. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the crust is lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

peach shortbread 6


  1. sonya says:

    This looks perfect! Sounds like a win-win trade for you and your coworkers 🙂

  2. Fruity desserts like this are just perfect for summer! The peach + brown butter flavors in here sound awesome, especially with that buttery shortbread 🙂

  3. Laura says:

    This looks great – thanks for sharing! Do you know how many cups (approximately) of sliced peach you used? between 2 and 16 peaches sounds like a big difference! Thanks!

  4. Laura – I was really annoyed with myself when I realized I didn’t measure the peaches in any way, either by volume or weight. I’m sorry about that. For what it’s worth, the picture above shows all of the peaches I used. It looks like 3-4 cups to me. I’d err on the high side and go with 4 cups; the dough can definitely support more than I used, and more summer fruit is never a bad thing.

    Based on the picture, I used 8 peaches – there are 9 pits shown, but two of them were bruised on one side, so I only used half. The peaches were each 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter.

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