Deck your kitchen table this holiday season with these tasty herbal cookie recipes that your family and friends will love.
Surprise your guests by adding the subtle taste of lavender to a simple shortbread cookie.
Makes about 25 cookies, 2 to 3 inches each
Edged with tiny sugar beads, these buttery cookies add glitter to your holiday décor.
• 1⁄2 cup blanched whole almonds
• 3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
• 2 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour
• 2 cups less 2 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour
• 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
• 1⁄2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
• 1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• About 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling on cookie tops
• About 1⁄4 cup Royal Icing, optional
• 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup small (2mm) silver dragées (sugar beads), optional
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, grind almonds with lavender and 2 tablespoons flour until nuts are finely textured, but not pasty. Sift together remaining flour and salt and combine with ground nut mixture. Set aside. Place softened butter and sugars in a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream mixture until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low speed, and gradually add flour-nut mixture, blending until just combined. Stir in vanilla extract. Flatten dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill at least 3 hours, or until very firm.
Place a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two 15-by-10-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch round or oval cookie cutter. Carefully transfer cookies to prepared cookie sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle cookie tops evenly with remaining sugar and bake about 30 minutes, or until the shortbread is firm to the touch and lightly browned on the bottom. Immediately transfer to cooling racks and cool completely before storing.
To add a sparkly border, pour silver dragées into a shallow bowl. Paint Royal Icing on cookie edges using a small craft brush and immediately roll edges in sugar beads to evenly coat. Set cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to dry icing before stacking or moving cookies for storage.
Make-ahead tips: These cookies have great staying power, which is why I love to have them on hand for the holidays. If stored properly in airtight containers at room temperature, they will stay fresh for 1 to 2 weeks.
Julia M. Usher is a food writer, recipe developer and food stylist in St. Louis. Contact her by visiting www.HerbCompanion.com/contributors.aspx
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