Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring Shortbread, a Tale of 2 Cookies

For Mother's Day this year, I chose to make these cookies as a gift for my surrogate mother. I wanted a gift that would be fitting for the season, delicious and easy to ship. With the cost of everything going up, I look for light-weight gifts. I felt that shortbread cookies would be a great vehicle for the flavors I had in mind. Wandering around the Internet, I found 2 recipes that I thought looked good, and decided to put them to the test. The results were, Rosewater-Green Tea Butterflies and Lavender-Lemon Wheels. The Butterflies are an adaptation of a Cooking Light Chai Shortbread recipe, and the Lavender-Lemon wheels I found on Food and Wine. Of the 2, I was happy with the recipe from Cooking Light. The cookies were light, delicate and kept their shape when baked. On the other hand, the Lavender cookies spread too much and quickly over baked. Although they tasted great, I wasn't happy with the way they baked off. I experimented with rosewater for the first time, and am not sure if I added enough. I will be making more in the near future and will up the amount I use. If anyone has a suggestion, please leave me a comment. I think I tasted it, at least I feel that it enhanced the sweetness of the cookie. Needless to say, baking both in the same day, my house smelled like a garden! One thing great about this cookie, like many others, the dough can be made ahead of time, which is what I did.
To send, I lined the bottom of a cake box with a bit of crunched up wax paper, put a pretty piece of pink tissue, then wrapped each group of cookies in wax paper, so the flavors would stay separated from one another. The box was tied with a nice pink check ribbon, and I tucked in a few bags of jasmine tea, to be enjoyed with the shortbread.

Rosewater-Green Tea Butterflies

makes about 20 cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tsp green tea
3/4 cup powdered sugar
10 tablespoon butter, softened
3 tsp rosewater
white sanding sugar

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, salt and green tea lightly with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined (mixture will appear crumbly). Sprinkle dough with rosewater; toss with a fork. Handle the dough lightly and as little as possible. Place the dough on plastic wrap, form into a disc and wrap. Chill 1 hour or until very firm.

Preheat oven to 375°.
Unwrap dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Gingerly roll the dough out to about 1/4" and cut out with a cutter dipped in flour. Place butterflies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place back in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to chill. Sprinkle with sanding sugar before baking.

Bake at 375° for about 12 minutes or until just lightly brown on the edges. I sprinkled the cookies lightly with sugar again. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

I love this brand of green tea. Try it in one of your recipes!

Lavender-Lemon Wheels
makes about 1 1/2 dozen

1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
purple sanding sugar

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the chopped lavender and grated lemon zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in the butter at moderate speed. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Place some sanding sugar on a piece of wax paper. Form the dough into a 4-inch log, roll in the sanding sugar to coat, re wrap in wax paper and chill for at least 45 minutes longer.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Slice the shortbread dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and place the rounds on ungreased baking sheets, I used parchment paper. Freeze the rounds for 10 minutes.
The original recipe calls for baking the shortbread for 20 to 25 minutes, ,I baked mine about 18 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer the baked shortbread to a wire rack to cool completely.


Clumbsy Cookie said...

Oh adorable! And really nice flavours you had going on!

Elle said...

Those are so pretty! I've always wanted to try baking with lavender and tea!

Anonymous said...

so very nice!

Michelle said...

So pretty and you chose a perfect cookie for a gift!! I just took out my butterfly cookie cutters last week too!!

Kimi said...

Cookie: Thanks for the comment.

Elle: Try it! You are a great baker. Did you see the blog on the Easter Meyer Lemon Cake? The lavender whip cream was so over the top!

Michelle: Thanks for the compliment. What cookie will you make?

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

What interesting, light spring flavors and shortbread adaptations. I also love that you send cookies as gifts, and here I am thinking I am the only one!