Friday, July 19, 2013

Lemon Balm Shortbread

Lemon Balm Shortbread

What is lemon balm you ask? It's an herb with a wonderful minty, lemony aroma. It's great steeped as tea, made into pesto, and the plant itself attracts butterflies to gardens. Lovely. It made an appearance in my CSA box which totally excited me because I've never used lemon balm before. I decided to swap out the basil that was called for in this cookie's original recipe for lemon balm. Why not??

Lemon Balm Shortbread

I am a great lover of shortbread.  You know those Starbuck's shortbread cookies? Oh, how I crave them and have to use all self-control not to put 4 in my handbag every time I visit a Starbuck's. Yeah, well these are that good (and they gotta be a little bit more figure friendly - right?).

Lemon Balm Shortbread
So good, in fact, they were gone in two days and on day 3 my my other half was searching the kitchen high and lo for to try a cookie. But, nay, I had eaten them all (why am I talking like a British person from 1914?) so I directed him to the freezer to search for the batch I had frozen. Which was a helpless pursuit if you know what an OCD kitchen control freak I am what my freezer looks like. A vast, cluttered, dark carnivorous environment where you don't know what your going to grab. A frozen egg white? A sausage link encased in tin-foil? Frozen fennel fronds? Alas, the lemon balm shortbread are still in the freezer -- waiting to be enjoyed while some future unknown company enjoys coffee and tea.

Printable Recipe Here

Lemon Balm Shortbread

Yield: 24-30 cookies

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 generous tablespoons chopped fresh lemon balm (or other similar herb, like basil)
1 tablespoon lemon or lime zest
1 cup walnut or pecans, finely chopped

Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 11" tart pan or similar sized pan, and set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon balm and zest in a stand-mixer on high speed until creamed well. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. The mixture will be crumbly. Stir in the walnuts. Dump mixture into greased pan and press to an even thickness.

Bake until edges begin to turn light brown, about 20 minutes — do not over bake. Remove from oven and using a sharp knife, slice shortbread into two-inch squares while hot. Let cool about 10 minutes, then carefully transfer pieces to a cooling rack.

Recipe Adapted from: