I feel a great sense of adventurous wonder outdoors, something I attribute to youthful years of berry picking, panning for gold, and mining gemstones. Put me in a cornfield, and even today, I'll run around like I'm 8 years old. For this, I blame my mother entirely. She is a fellow nature-lover, and the impetus behind the aforementioned adolescent nature frolic. She is also the keeper of one of the most enviable gardens in the suburbs.
What began years ago as a humble quest for fresh tomatoes has transformed into a full scale, multi-season garden which includes kale, arugula, 6 different kinds of tomatoes, baby eggplants, asparagus, pumpkins, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and herbs (and potentially more, but it's not my garden so who knows). I, on the other hand, have neither the space nor the patience required for cultivating a garden, and instead volunteer as Head of Harvesting/Foraging. Sadly, most of what I harvest never ends up in my baking. It wasn't until this past week that I had an aha moment: bake with herbs!
One of my all time favorite foodie books is The Flavor Bible - my first stop when I want to create something new and different. This time it helped me with a nearly impossible choice: thyme or rosemary. I opted for rosemary when I saw "Flavor Affinity Group: Rosemary + Lemon + Butter."
These cookies melt in your mouth, leaving behind a concordance of rosemary+lemon+butter. If you are looking for a staple shortbread recipe, these cookies are still scrumptuous sans lemon and rosemary. Despite being the perfect base for a cookie sandwich, if you choose not to fill them you can justify eating an extra one.
Rosemary lemon shortbread cookies &or sandwiches
(makes 3 dozen cookies)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons rosemary, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla on low speed, until light and fluffy. Try to avoid faster speeds which will incorporate too much air into the dough.
- Using a wooden spoon, carefully stir in the flour, lemon zest and rosemary until a dough is formed. The mixture will at first appear too dry to ever come together, but trust me, it will. As always, be careful not to over mix.
- After this brief arm workout, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least four hours.
- At the point that you are ready to bake off the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment.
- Carefully roll out the shortbread dough on a well-floured surface. Cut out cookies into desired shape and place on baking sheet. I used a 1" circle cutter.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookie bottoms are lightly browned.
*If you elect to make these sandwich shortbread cookies, simply mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Wait for the cookies to cool completely before sandwiching them together.
(Inspired by Sally's Shortbread Cookies II recipe)