Brown your butter: In a medium saucepan or frying pan, soften butter over medium-high warmth. It’ll soften, then foam, then flip clear golden and a few toasted speckles will seem. As quickly as they do, take away the pan from the burner; the residual warmth will likely be ample to toast the remainder of the butter to a deep golden brown. Pour butter and all of the toasty flecks right into a medium bowl then switch to the freezer.
Chill the browned butter: We need to freeze the butter till it’s stable all through however belief me, this speeds it up: Freeze the butter within the bowl for half-hour then give it a full stir, scraping down the perimeters, mixing the nonetheless melted components within the heart over the solidified chunks. Return to the freezer for an additional half-hour — it ought to now be completely stable all through. Minimize it into chunks, proper within the bowl. No have to make them even.
Warmth your oven: To 300°F. Line an 8-inch sq. cake pan with parchment paper that extends up two sides. There isn’t a have to grease it.
Make the shortbread dough one in all two methods:
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment: Beat browned butter chunks, brown sugar, and salt collectively, scraping incessantly, till evenly blended. Add vanilla, water, and flour, and blend simply till mixed, scraping down the bowl once more. This is similar order as for a hand mixer, however with a hand mixer, you’ll want the butter warmed to semi-soft first.In a meals processor: Mix brown sugar, salt, and flour within the work bowl, pulsing a couple of occasions. Add chilly browned butter chunks, vanilla, and water and pulse a number of occasions to cut the butter down into even smaller items. Then, run the machine till it’s totally integrated and comes collectively in a clean mass, 1 to 2 minutes extra, scraping down as wanted for even mixing.
Each strategies: Switch shortbread dough to ready baking pan and your fingers to press it into a good, flat layer, then use an offset spatula to clean the highest.
Bake the shortbread: For half-hour — it won’t be totally baked but — and take away from the oven simply lengthy sufficient to form the shortbread.
To create the diamond form proven, use the again of a paring knife (sure, the uninteresting facet) or a bench scraper to make mild line indentations barely 1/4-inch into the shortbread, about 1 inch aside. Then, at a couple of 45-degree angle from the primary traces, make remaining indentations 1.5 inches aside. [Note: I absolutely never measure and it’s more intuitive than it sounds when you read the above.] Use a really skinny, sharp paring knife (that is my go-to) to chop alongside these traces to the underside of the pan. Use the again of a wood skewer (the uninteresting finish) to dock the shortbread wherever it fits you (it’s for aesthetics) about 1/3 of the way in which into the cookie.
End baking: Return the shortbread to the oven for an additional 15 to twenty minutes, or till extra deeply golden on the edges. Let cool within the pan, or, in the event you’re impatient, allow them to cool for 10 minutes, after which take away them, utilizing one of many prolonged sides of the parchment paper lining the pan to make it simpler. Let shortbread cool utterly, then separate the shortbread the place they have been minimize. If wanted, use your paring knife once more to make clear separations.
Squiggle with icing (non-compulsory): House shortbread evenly out on a rack and place over a tray to catch drips. Place powdered sugar in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mixing to mix. We’re in search of a thick however drizzle-able consistency. Add all or a part of remaining 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice if wanted to attain it. Switch icing to a sandwich bag and snip a tiny little bit of the nook off and drizzle the icing over the shortbread. Let set for one hour at room temperature.
Do forward: Shortbread retains for 1 week, if not longer, at room temperature. It freezes nicely too, simply wrap it tight, and don’t squiggle with icing till defrosted.