These are very close to the brown butter espresso shortbread, but with the addition of maple syrup and brown sugar, they are sweeter and make tea drinking a blasphemous act if you don’t have a shortbread cookie nearby.
Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shortbread
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, browned, at room temperature
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1. Place butter into medium heavy bottom pot, heat on medium high 5-8 minutes until brown. Cool until it hardens to room temperature. I usually just put it outside in the BBQ to be honest, much faster than a countertop.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and maple syrup, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated.
3. Using the spatula, transfer the dough to a zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days. You can put it in the freezer pretty much indefinitely and defrost it on the counter for a few hours when ready to use. OR you can wrap it in a ball, and roll the dough into smaller balls when you’re ready to bake.
4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and cut the dough into 1 inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.