Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies with Fig Jam and Pine Nuts

Dear Martha Stewart,

When I read your recipe for Aunt Maggie’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies, I had the highest of hopes. See, I had this jar of fig jam in the fridge, and I wanted to use it for something special. I’d spent countless hours perusing Pinterest boards when I came across your simple recipe for what seemed to be the perfect vehicle for my sweet, figgy spread.

The cookie that came to be in my galley kitchen, however, was nothing like the cookie you (and your commentariat) described.

And yes, I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly follow your recipe to the letter. It’s true—I browned the butter then cooled it in the fridge before creaming it with the sugar.

But still! Should that have affected the recipe to such a dramatic degree that instead of a perfectly round, soft, chewy confection, I ended up with a charmingly misshapen, tender, delicate shortbread? Really, if it weren’t for the sweet-sticky figs and $8 worth of pine nuts, this cookie would be nothing but an over-sized, nutty bite of heaven that melts in your mouth.

It’s lucky for you that this cookie turned out as beautifully as it did. Your reputation was really on the line.

Most humbly,

Bake Up, Little Suzy

Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies with Fig Jam and Pine Nuts
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Loosely adapted from Martha Stewart
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 18
Nutty brown butter shortbread is filled with sweet-sticky fig jam and topped with toasted pine nuts.
  • 4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fig jam
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook just until butter has browned. The butter will go through several stages: it will melt, then splatter a bit, then foam and golden bubbles will begin to appear in the center on the surface with little brown specs. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl, scraping bottom of pan for any browned bits, and refrigerate until solid.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place solidified brown butter in a bowl along with the sugar, and beat on high speed of a hand mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add egg, and beat until completely combined. With mixer on low, add flour and salt, and mix just until incorporated. Refrigerate dough overnight.
  5. Squeeze dough around the tip of your index finger so that it forms an itty, bitty bowl (using about two tablespoons of dough at a time). Carefully slide the dough off your finger and pinch to reinforce the sides of each adorable bowl as needed. Place on baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
  6. Heat the jam until liquefied. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into the well of each cookie.
  7. Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Immediately top cookies with pine nuts (about three per cookie), transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
Linked to: I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Flour Me with Love, Chef in Training, Nap Time Creations, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, It’s a Blog Party, 33 Shades of Green, Lil’ Luna, King’s Court IV, Bizzy Bakes, Gooseberry Patch, Creations by Kara, Lady behind the Curtain, Newlyweds, A Little Nosh, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Food Trip Friday, Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Tidy Mom, The Country Cook, Crumbs and Chaos, Be Different, Act Normal, My Favorite Finds, Something Swanky, Addicted to Recipes

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