Got coffee? Pour a cup to go with these buttery shortbread cookies.
If you’re putting fresh herbs on your cookies, I think it’s safe to say you’re a grown-up. And if this is what being a grown-up tastes like, I have no problem with adulthood.
I’m all about cookies (geez, look at the name of my blog). But sometimes I need a balance to all that sugar. These buttery cookies are not too sweet, so the hint of lemon and the delicate flavor of herbs shine just right.
Rather than blending the herbs into the dough, the cookies are decorated with snippets so you can use a variety of herbs with one batch. Then you get the bonus of cookies dressed for a garden party!
So next time you snip from your garden or stop by the farmer’s market, consider using fresh herbs for dessert. They're perfect for bridal or baby showers. Or backyard gatherings. Or any party. Or for your own indulgence.
The cookies are adapted from my Basic Sugar Cookie recipe and are quite simple to make.
First, mix together the flour and salt. This just needs a stir or two with a spoon.
Then, place the butter and confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and blend, making sure to start on low speed so you don’t get a face full of sweet powder. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon, blend it well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, then gradually stir in the flour mixture.
Once you have your dough formed, scoop it all into a zip-top bag and chill in the refrigerator. Chilling the dough will make it much easier to roll out and help the cookies keep their shape in the oven, so don’t skip this step!
Meanwhile, you can prepare your herbs. Either snip a few whole pieces (the thyme looks especially pretty when left on the sprig) or finely chop the leaves.
Or choose a mixture. I chopped the sage finely, but the rosemary leaves I just used whole. To remove leaves from thyme, pinch a sprig and run your thumb and forefinger along the length of the sprig against the leaves’ growth. Easy peasy.
I kept my prepared herbs separate, and only put one kind of herb on each cookie, but you can also mix them all up if you prefer.
After your dough is chilled, it’s time to roll it out. Work with about half the dough at a time, briefly kneading it into a ball, pressing the ball flat and rolling with a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out your circles, ovals or squares (or whatever shape you are using) and place on a baking tray or trays lined with parchment paper.
With a fork, mix an egg white and a bit of water. Then, lightly brush the egg-white mixture on the cookies. Sprinkle or place a few herbs on each cookie, pressing gently to flatten the herbs against the cookies.
If you want a sweeter taste, you can sprinkle a pinch of granulated sugar on each cookie. I sprinkled sugar on about a third of my cookies, but I personally preferred the less-sweet ones.
Bake until the edges are gorgeously golden brown. Enjoy with a cold glass of iced tea. Or smooth, hot coffee. Or vodka. I won’t judge.