Brown Butter Rye Shortbread

Brown Butter Rye Shortbread

Brown Butter Rye Shortbread

Made with 100% rye flour and barely sweetened, these extra-tender shortbread cookies are simplicity at its best. Brown butter heightens the malty, nutty flavor of the rye, complementing it rather than competing with it. Whether you serve these with cheese to start a meal or as a dessert to finish one, these cookies are sure to get you hooked on rye!

Prep
20 mins
Bake
8 to 10 mins
Total
1 hr 35 mins
Yield
10 to 24 cookies, depending on size
Brown Butter Rye Shortbread - select to zoom
Brown Butter Rye Shortbread - select to zoom
Brown Butter Rye Shortbread - select to zoom
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Instructions

  1. To brown the butter: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, the butter will start to sizzle and may spatter. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan regularly, until it’s a rich golden brown and brown bits start collecting at the bottom of the pan; the butter will have stopped sizzling and may also have a layer of foam on the surface.

    Brown Butter Rye Shortbread – Step 1
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into a heatproof bowl. Cool the butter slightly at room temperature, then transfer it to the refrigerator to chill until it solidifies but isn’t rock-hard, about 30 minutes.

  3. To make the shortbread: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment paper.

  4. Stir together the rye flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt, breaking up any brown sugar lumps if necessary.

  5. Remove the brown butter from the refrigerator, stir it briefly to bring it to an even temperature, then work it into the dry ingredients until everything is crumbly.

    Brown Butter Rye Shortbread – Step 5
  6. Drizzle in enough milk to bring the dough together with a few gentle stirs.

    Brown Butter Rye Shortbread – Step 6
  7. Gather the dough into a ball. It should be entirely cohesive; if dry bits are falling off around the edges and everything isn’t holding together nicely, add a bit more milk. 

    Brown Butter Rye Shortbread – Step 7
  8. Place it on a lightly floured work surface, and flatten it to a rough square. You can roll the dough immediately, without chilling; or shape it, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate it for up to a couple of days. Take the dough out of the refrigerator 15 to 20 minutes before rolling, to warm it up.   

    Brown Butter Rye Shortbread – Step 8
  9. Roll the dough into a 1/8”-thick round. Use your favorite cookie cutters or stamps to cut out cookies that are roughly 2” to 4” in diameter. Re-roll scraps to cut out more cookies. For simplest cutting (and with no dough scraps to re-roll), roll the dough into a square or rectangle and cut square cookies using a square cutter, bench knife, table knife, or pizza wheel

    Brown Butter Rye Shortbread – Step 9
  10. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 7 to 12 minutes (larger cookies will take longer), or until golden brown around the edges and on the bottom; you’ll want to watch them toward the end of the baking time as they can go from perfectly golden to too dark within a couple of minutes.

    Brown Butter Rye Shortbread – Step 11
  11. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool.

  12. Store cookies, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • While delicious as a plain and simple shortbread, these cookies are easily transformed into sweet little sandwiches. Like macarons, you can fill them with almost any sweet (or even savory) spread you desire. A few of our favorites include jam or preserves (raspberry, cherry, and fig are especially good); caramel sauce; chocolate ganache (a little goes a long way), or peanut butter or Nutella.

    While delicious as a plain and simple shortbread, these cookies are easily transformed into sweet little sandwiches.