Shortbread holds a special place in my cookie-loving heart because it's so simple to make, lasts forever in a cookie tin, and is delicious whether you're making the most basic, plain Jane version or a fun flavor variation.
This version uses brown butter, coconut, and a big pinch of salt to add some layers of toasty, golden, coconutty flavor that's great on it's own, but even better when paired with some berries and whipped cream (or ice cream if you're going all out).
...plus you're already browning the butter and it seemed like one step too many to brown the butter AND toast the coconut. Especially since - in my opinion - shortbread should be a low-maintenance cookie.
If you're like me and love brown butter in cookies, but always forget that you need time to let the butter cool back to room temp before baking with it, I suggest putting the pot in a sink filled with cold-cold water (and some ice if you have it on hand) and stir the butter. This chills it lickity-split to a thick, almost solidified state that you can use right away. I used some Stirling unsalted butter for this batch and next time I make it I'm going to be testing it out with the Churn84 to see what the high butterfat content does to the texture. Cookie testing is the best kind of testing.
Once the butter is semi-solid, it gets creamed with the sugar till smooth. Then the flour, coconut, and salt are added it gets alllllll stirred up until everything is coated and the dough looks crumbly, but holds together when pinched.
In the spirit of keeping things low-maintenance, the dough is dumped into a Ziplock bag and rolled out into a 11 x 5.5 inch rectangle. The bag eliminates any mess or fuss that rolling crumbly dough can cause, and it's a simple trick to get it all one even thickness.
Once it's rolled out, you simply place the bag of dough on a cookie tray and pop it in the freezer until it's firm enough to slice.
Then I served them with semifreddo, berries and cream, and alongside mugs of tea and coffee. It's a sweet little cookie to have on hand and they freeze beautifully so it's worth making a double batch and tucking some away for when you have guests or (if you're like me) a run-of-the-mill cookie emergency.
Brown Butter Coconut Shortbread
1/2 cup Stirling unsalted Butter
1/3 cup + 1 TBSP icing sugar
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1. In a small pot, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Stir or swirl the butter in the pot until it begins to turn golden and smell toasty. Place the pot in a sink or bowl filled with enough ice cold water to come half way up the sides of the pot. Stir the butter until it cools and thickens.
2. Preheat the oven to 350
3. In a mixer's bowl, add the butter and icing sugar and mix until completely combined. Then add the flour, coconut, cornstarch, and salt and stir on low until the it forms a crumbly dough that holds together when squeezed.
4. Pour the dough into a large ziplock bag and roll into an even 5.5 x 11 inch rectangle. Place the bag of dough on a cookie sheet and pop it in the freezer until completely firm (20 min or so).
5. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut away the bag. Slice the dough into your desired shapes (for the fingers I cut the dough down the center horizontally, and then cut it vertically into 1.5 inch wide strips). Place on the cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8 - 12 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies) or until the cookies are light, light golden along the edges.
6. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Trust me on this, shortbread is 10x better once it is completely cool.
Full Disclosure: Stirling sent me some butter, but I bake with it because I legitimately enjoy the product and find the quality makes a difference.