Peaches and I have had a rocky relationship. For years, I was never a fan... so many people around me raved about them, yet I still felt repulsed. Before this recipe, the last time I'd eaten a peach was two years ago in Chengdu, China, in Joe's grandma's kitchen. It was a white peach, my first, and it was so delicious. But when I returned home, I completely forgot about peaches altogether and never ate them again. It was only recently on a visit to Eckerts Farm in StL did I see cases of peaches everywhere and decide to give them another shot. And now my love has been renewed.
I made these shortbread bars that I had seen on Smitten Kitchen... they have a whole layer of sliced peaches in there, although next time I'd be inclined to add more! Also, browned butter is so much better than actual butter. The shortbread included browned butter that put the flavor over the edge which really just makes me never want to doubt a Smitten Kitchen recipe every again.
I think these would work with any stone fruit, and maybe more than just those. But for now, these are simple and buttery with a hint of fruit. They would also work just fine with a layer of jam or jelly if you don't have fruit on hand. It's definitely a bar for all seasons, and so easy to put together for an afternoon snack or to deliver for any occasion.
Pecan Shortbread Bars
Adapted from here
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)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
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.