These Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies are rich, buttery and studded with sweet and salty soy toffee. Perfect for the holidays and cookie exchanges!

Shortbread are one of my favourite cookies, but have yet to share a recipe for them. So here’s the first shortbread cookie on the blog: soy toffee brown butter shortbread!

These shortbread cookies are inspired by my soy caramel yuzu loaf with brown butter glaze. I originally wanted to add a yuzu element to it but because yuzu is so expensive here in Canada, I left it out this time around. But the simplicity of the nutty brown butter shortbread really lets the sweet and salty soy toffee shine.

After these shortbread cookies, I’m convinced every shortbread cookie should have brown butter.

brown butter shortbread cookies on a wooden board

Ingredients (+ substitutions)

  • Butter: if using non-dairy butter like I did here, make sure to use one that can brown like Miyokos or homemade vegan butter. Alternatively, you can add 1 tsp of almond powder and use that as the solids.
  • Almond flour: can be substituted for more cake flour.
  • Powdered sugar: granulated sugar can be substituted.
  • Flour: all purpose or cake flour can be used
  • Soy toffee bits: Make a batch of homemade toffee bits infused with soy sauce.
  • Water
  • Vanilla
  • Salt

How to make brown butter shortbread cookies

Before starting the cookies, make a batch of homemade toffee bits using soy sauce instead of salt. If you enjoyed my miso caramel cookies, you could also make miso toffee shortbread cookies by using miso instead. If you don’t care for umami-infused toffee, store dough toffee can be used. I suggest making this a day ahead!

To make brown butter shortbread:

  1. Brown the butter and chill until solidified.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until combined. Add in the salt, vanilla and water. Add flour and beat until just combined. Fold in the toffee bits.
  3. Wrap the dough and refrigerate until firm.
  4. Brush aquafaba or egg wash on the surface of the dough and roll in sesame sugar (or just sugar).
  5. Slice the cookies and bake.
  6. Cool and enjoy!

These cookies can also be made in a pan! In this case, no need to refrigerate. Bake at a lower temperature for a longer time until golden brown.

How to store shortbread cookies

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks at room temperature or in the fridge. They also freeze well for up to 3 months.

Brown Butter Shortbread FAQ

  • Can I make these in a food processor? Yes! Process all the dry ingredients, and then add in the wet ingredients. Blend until it comes together and then follow the same steps after. These result in a slightly more flaky shortbread cookie.
  • What if I don’t refrigerate the butter after browning? They still taste good, they just err on the slightly oily side and are a bit denser.
  • Why do I need to poke holes in the dough when baking in a pan? This helps prevent the dough from puffing up like when making tart shells.

Enjoy!! If you make this Soy Toffee Brown Butter Shortbread recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rating and if you decide to share it on socials, tag me on instagram @Okonomikitchen. I’d love to hear from you 😁!

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soy toffee brown butter shortbread cookies on a wooden board

Soy Toffee Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies


Description

These Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies are rich, buttery and studded with sweet and salty soy toffee. Perfect for the holidays and cookie exchanges!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter* + 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp (14 g) almond flour
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (142 g) all purpose or cake flour**
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup (60 g) soy toffee bits


Instructions

  1. Add the butter to a sauce pan over medium high heat and let it melt. Cook until the butter begins to sizzle and foam, stirring continuously. Once it begins to smell nutty and you can see golden specks from the butter solids, immediately transfer to another bowl. Refrigerate until solidifies but is soft to the touch, about 1 hour.
  2. Add the chilled brown butter and sugar to a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium high for 1 minute. Add in the salt, vanilla extract and water and beat until incorporated. Add the flour and beat once more until just combined. Fold in the toffee bits with a spatula. 
  3. For slice and bake: Gather the dough and use plastic wrap to roll it into a log about 1 1/2 inches in thickness. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Once the dough is firm, slice into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. Coat the dough with aquafaba or egg and roll in sesame seeds or turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 F for 12-16 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve and enjoy!
  4. Using a pan: Press the dough into a 15 cm x 15 cm parchment lined square baking pan. Prick the dough with a fork. Bake at 325 F for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Allow it to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully remove from pan onto a cutting board. Slice while still warm. Serve and enjoy!
    Press dough into pan. Press the dough as evenly as possible into the prepared baking pan. Use a toothpick or a fork to poke holes all over the dough about 1 inch apart.

Notes

  • *I used Miyoko’s non-dairy butter that browns. If you use a dairy free butter that does not have solids, add 1 tsp of almond flour to the butter and that will be your solids you’re looking for to brown. 
  • **Cake flour will yield a more crumbly melty texture. 
Konnichiwa

About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.


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