Tuesday, August 26, 2014

peach shortbread.

Last night marked the start of the Lovely Lady League aka the Fantasy Football league I am part of.  If you know me, you will know I spent the majority of the college football games that I attended reading the latest fashion magazines rather then actually paying attention to what was going on.  The fact that I am part of a Fantasy Football league is as shocking to me as it probably is to you.  I still don't watch the games (I find the sport rather dull) but Fantasy Football is like a really fun game and I can always get behind really fun games.

Getting a group of girls together on a Monday night to draft their football teams means plenty of snacks will be provided.  And good snacks! Nothing like what I imagine a group of guys would put together (namely cold pizza and even colder beer). Girls bring things like kale salads, smoky eggplant dip, lots of hummus and peach shortbread bars which was part of my contribution.

Peach shortbread bars beg to be served to a crowd and this particular recipe is a real crowd-pleaser. Tender subtly sweet and barely spiced shortbread provides the perfect base for juicy-at-the-peak-of-ripeness peaches.  The whole thing is topped with some of the remaining crumbled shortbread which makes this bar like a peach crumble pie/cookie hybrid which may be the best kind of hybrid out there.  

Peach Shortbread
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

You can halve this and bake it in a 8 x 8 pan instead.  If you do halve it, you can still use the full egg or just a yolk.  

1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) white sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (12 5/8 ounces or 359 grams) cups all-purpose flour (or you can measure 3 cups and remove 2 tablespoons flour) (you can also do a combo of all-purpose and whole wheat like I did!)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces or 227 grams) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Keeping: I’ve kept mine in the fridge and they've held up great there since Monday. I imagine that these would freeze well, between layers of waxed paper, with the container sealed well in plastic wrap.

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