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Texas-shaped shortbread

July 9, 2010

I am usually inspired by one thing when it comes to baking. Or several.

When my Mom sent me a Texas-shaped cookie cutter (she lives in Texas. She misses me), I suppose I didn’t need too much more inspiration.

I’ve always been inspired by wild herb, but with Texas on my mind and my kitchen counter, I stared at a bag of shortbread fingers sent home with us after a delightful dinner at The French Laundry a few weeks back and said to myself: “Oh, yes.”

But let’s talk about the cookies for a moment. They were utterly delicious the next morning for breakfast along with a few memorable pastries from Bouchon bakery. Later in the day they proved more than helpful as we were starved for a snack while wine tasting through Napa. These shortbread cookies are crispy, buttery and addictive. Exactly what shortbread cookies should be.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The wild herbs. I was on a walk, through the neighborhood, hoping to forage for rosemary. Something caught my eye. It wasn’t rosemary but it was wild, tangled and over grown through a fence (hence it’s a wild herb). Sure enough after I  plucked some and gave it a sniff, it was lemon verbena. I kindly helped myself to a few leaves and went on my way.

The next morning the leaves I had left in a little bowl on the counter had curled and dried. I crumbled them between my fingers to make a nice powder. Then I decided to make shortbread cookies because well, I was inspired, right?

Cream 7 oz. soft butter with 1/2 c. granulated sugar until light and incorporated. About 2 minutes. I then added the dried lemon verbena to the butter/ sugar mixture. Next I added 1 tsp. vanilla. Remember to scrape sides of the well as well as the paddle attachment (as to incorporate every last bit together).

Next add 2 c. A.P.Flour to the mixer in several batches while mixer is on low-speed.

*Do not overmix the dough*

I was running low on A.P. Flour but still had some Spelt flour left, so I used about 1 cup of each flour for this recipe.

Scrape dough out of the bowl and press into a flat disc. Wrap with parchment or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or more.

When ready to use roll out dough on floured surface. Some people like to roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. The key is to not over work the dough and kept it cool. You can cut shapes out with cookie cutters or cut into rectangles. I used a Texas shaped cookie cutter because I’m that kind of person.

I glazed the cookies with lime icing ( the juice of 1 lime in small bowl and add enough confectioner sugar to thicken). Lemon verbena with lime is a combination I normally wouldn’t have thought of but I am very glad I did. These cookies went fast and they are certainly a new favorite.

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