Citrus Shortbread with Sugared Herbs
I have been wanting to make shortbread with delicate dried herbs and flower petals forever. The base of the shortbread is similar to my mother's sugar cookies, but with no egg. I added a lovely twist of citrus with lemon and orange zest, but you could also use lime. The top of the cookies are dusted with granulated sugar mixed with dried mint leaves (crushed), dried thyme, lavender flowers and rose petals. They are almost too pretty to eat - but trust me, you will want to taste these!
These are perfect to pair with a cup of iced coffee or herbal tea in the warm, summer weather. But, I'm looking forward to making these for those cold, winter afternoons when I love to sip on a cup of hot, herbal tea. You can use any dried herbs or flowers that you prefer. I think chamomile flowers would be fun to try next time.
Have fun with this recipe. Enjoy them with a friend while catching up after a few weeks (or possibly months) of not seeing each other.
Citrus Shortbread with Sugared Dried Herbs
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
· In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and creamy.
· Next add the lemon and orange zest along with the vanilla extract and beat well. Add the salt and flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. You may need to mix the last cup by hand.
· Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten into a disc shape. Cover each disc with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.
· Take out one disc at a time. On a floured surface, roll out into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Use a rolling pin covered well with flour, add more as you roll out.
· Use a round scalloped cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Sprinkle with sugared herbs (see below). Transfer the cookies with a floured metal spatula to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
· Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes or until only lightly browned. Baking time may depend on the size of the cookies. Cool on a wire baking rack.
· Repeat steps for additional cookies.
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dried, crushed mint leaves (I flash dried them by placing mint leaves in the microwave for about 1 minute)
1-2 tsp. dried lavender flowers
1 tsp. dried rose petals (crushed)
1-2 tsp dried thyme
· Mix together the sugar and herbs. Sprinkle over the top if the cut-out shortbread and press lightly to help the sugar stick to the dough.
· Once the shortbread cookies are cool, store them in an airtight container. These also freeze well.