Friday, October 2, 2009

Brown Sugar Shortbread

Oops. I totally forgot that I promised to post this recipe. What kind of irresponsible blogger am I, anyway?

But if I do say so myself, these are worth the wait. Of course, I can't claim the recipe as my own; it comes from that brilliant local restaurateur Annie Quatrano (Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, Float-a-Way Cafe, Quinones and Abbatoir).

When I worked at Star, I made these several times a week. The best part about the recipe is that you have to trim the edges (more about that later). Translated, that meant lots of great brown sugar shortbread shards for us to shove down our throats. At 7 a.m, when baking was in full force, it made a great breakfast with a cup of coffee!

The first time I tried these, that old man I live with and I were on one of our marathon walks (see previous blog entry). Three-quarters of the way into the walk, we found ourselves at Star Provisions. (It's a wonder they let us in, sweaty and smelly as we were). A quick perusal of the bakery case and we both fixated on the very same thing: brown sugar shortbread fingers!

So we split one. Duh! How dumb was that? So we split another one. And then another. Nirvana! And of course the calories didn't count because we split them (and we were walking 18 miles, right?)

Whatever. All I can say is that you should make these tomorrow. You probably have all the ingredients on hand. Actually, screw that. You should make these tonight! Here's the recipe:

Brown Sugar Shortbread

2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. In an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add brown sugar and vanilla and mix well, scraping down sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Gently mix in flour and salt. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl and beaters to incorporate ingredients. Do not overmix. The dough will be a little dry and flaky.

Roll dough between parchment paper or plastic wrap to 1/2-inch thickness. Bake on a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes. Cool completely.

While still on cookie sheet, trim the edges (you then get to eat them - oh yeah!) and cut into bars about 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches and separate from one another on the baking sheet. You may need to use 2 baking sheets. Bake bars for another 20 minutes, or until golden.

When cool, roll cookies in a bowl of granulated white sugar to coat.

Yield: 4 dozen bars

A couple of things:
Shortbread spreads when it bakes, so if you cut the raw dough into fingers (or bars), it will spread and lose its shape. Prebaking first, then cutting as desired will maintain the shape.

Do you like my Italian pottery? (That would be the ornate, overly painted plate in the picture. Yeah, and it has roosters on it, too). Henry hates the stuff. He refuses to eat anything on it (even brown sugar shortbread). I, however, love it!!! I decided a long time ago that I was a gay man in my previous life. Guess this proves it!


  1. these are my absolute favorite!!!

  2. I enjoy your blog, and am delighted to have SP's recipe for their brown sugar shortbreads. I too have spent much time (also $) at Star Provisions, but only as an enthusiastic consumer. I wonder if you have also made their luscious brownies, and have the recipe to share (if not proprietary).