Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod
It's spring! Officially, that is, even if winter isn't quite done with us yet.  But, that's okay. I am ready to move on and start celebrating the season.  And, how does one celebrate? Well, with food, of course!


When I think of spring, two ingredients immediately come to mind..lemons and rosemary.  Lemons are a given and are such a part of my spring and summer menu repertoire.
They are fresh and light.  They brighten the flavor of any dish or dessert, even a nice tall glass of iced tea or water.  If you take a look in my refrigerator (not that I'm offering for you to take a look; it's chaos in there!), you will always see lemons.  I never let myself run out, even through the winter. Seriously, I love lemons and their bright smell so much that all of my housecleaners, dish soap, and laundry detergent are lemon-scented.  And, yes, my lotions, too!  Lemon verbena everything. Can you say I am lemon-obsessed?

I also can't get enough of fresh herbs.  And, you better believe that as soon as that ground warms up enough I will be out in my garden planting fresh herbs.  And, one of my favorite herbs happens to be rosemary.  I use it in so many of my dishes.  I can't resist the piney fragrance rosemary gives off when you place it on the chopping block and begin to mince it into tiny bits with your knife.  For such little needles they exude tons of aroma and flavor.  And, here's my little secret...I love to smell my fingers after handling minced rosemary. Yes, there you have it, I said it.  I smell my fingers. Both of my hands smell the rest of the day after I've chopped rosemary and they smell goooooddd!

When thinking of flavor combinations that always work, lemon and rosemary have to be at the top of the list.  You can never go wrong with the pairing.  They totally complement one another.  The bright, astringent, citrus smell of the lemon in combination with the piney equally bright smell of rosemary can bring tons of flavor to a roasted chicken, a light pasta dish, and even a cookie.

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
So, imagine my delight when I came across a recipe for Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies from Maria Lichty at Two Peas and Their Pod! You have to check out her site for these cookies and her other fabulous recipes. The pictures are so beautiful and pretty that I just had to try out the recipe for myself, and I am so happy I did.

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookie
Notice the flecks of rosemary and lemon peel
The cookies are a buttery shortbread, thin and crispy.  The lemon flavor combined with the rosemary give the cookies an almost savory appeal that is mellowed out by the subtle sweetness of the sugar and the buttery flavor that melts in your mouth.  Paired with a nice cup of hot tea, you will find yourself making these pretty cookies throughout the season.  They keep nicely in the freezer if you don't want them to go bad.  And, here is my special tip...use European butter to bake these.  The extra fat found in European butter makes for a crisper and more buttery flavor than standard butter found in supermarkets.  You can typically find European butter in the cheese sections of most grocery stores.

For a print-friendly version of the recipe, click: https://sites.google.com/site/lemonrosemaryshortbread/

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest from 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped (about two sprigs)
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (juice from one lemon)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, lemon zest, and rosemary.  Set aside.
  2. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and powdered sugar until they are light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes).
  3. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice, mixing until combined.
  4. Scoop down the batter on the sides.  Gradually mix in the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  5. Form dough into a ball and then pat into a round, flat disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until hardened, about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  7. Prepare a work surface with a sprinkling of flour.  Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes in the dough. I used a small biscuit cutter. You can use whatever shape you like.
  9. Place the cookie shapes onto your prepared pan.  Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges of your cookies have just begun to brown.
  10. Cool completely. Fix yourself a nice cup of hot tea, prepared to your liking, and enjoy the sunshine and peacefulness of the season.
    I like mine with milk