there’s a thick blanket of snow outside and the temperatures have been sub-zero for 24 hours. i haven’t left the house in 3 days, except to take out the compost or collect the mail. to stay warm on chilly days, i like to spend time in the kitchen with the oven and stove cooking up delicious treats. so today, i just have a little recipe to brighten your day.
the kitchen is perhaps the most sacred space in my home. it’s where all the good stuff takes place. it’s where we bring in the harvest and clean all the fruits and veggies. it’s where we prepare the meals that sustain us. it’s where i like to sit in my quiet moments and enjoy a cup of tea. i usually read my tarot cards at the kitchen table. and as an herbalist, i work pretty much exclusively in the kitchen, preparing remedies and delights.
of course for now, we are living with my parent’s and i don’t have my own kitchen. yet i still find, whenever i have a few hours or a day alone in the home, i spend it almost exclusively in their kitchen – preparing natural dyes and dyeing fabrics, cooking, baking, or just sitting at the bar and reading a good book.
i had a few hours to myself today, and with family coming over later i knew i wanted to make something special for dinner. i baked a loaf of spent grain bread from grains leftover from homebrewing (i freeze them in plastic containers). i wanted to make a desert, but the cold and snow sufficiently deterred me from running to the store for ingredients (i am truly a hermit). so i looked in the fridge and pantry, and found a tin of leftover fresh herbs – thyme and rosemary. i read a number of recipes online, and sort of combined a few to come up with these shortbread cookies, that require very few ingredients.
herbal shortbread cookies
makes about 20 small cookies
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 TB dried or 2 TB fresh herb of choice
- 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat, or use all all purpose
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract + 1/2 tsp herbal extract of choice (i used tinctures) , or use 1 tsp vanilla
- zest of one citrus of choice (optional)
- in a food processor or spice grinder, combine herbs and sugar until herbs are well processed
- beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- add egg, extracts, and zest, if using, to sugar mixture and mix well
- mix flours and salt, and add to sugar mixture slowly, combining well. the dough should come together well enough to be rolled into a log.
- divide dough in half. flour a surface and roll each half into a 2″ thick log. place on a baking sheet, cover, and freeze for 45 min to an hour, until the dough is firm enough to cut.
- using a knife, cut 1/4″ thick disks from the log and place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet
- if you want to be fancy, optional step to press some of the herbs into the top of each cookie (shown in my photo)
- bake at 375 for 15-17 minutes, until the edges just start to brown.
- cool on a rack and store in an airtight container
ideas for flavors:
- lemon zest + rosemary
- lemon zest + tarragon
- lemon zest + sage
- lemon zest + lemon balm
- dried or fresh lavender flowers
- dried or fresh rose petals
- fresh nasturtium flowers
- fresh violet flowers
- orange zest + thyme
- orange zest + oregano
- pine, fir, or spruce tips (make sure they are edible!)