Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

365 in 365 - #75 - Basil & Ginger Shortbread Cookies

This idea for a cookie came to me by way of a co-worker.  He had been talking about a gelato that he had at a restaurant somewhere and mentioned that the flavor was basil & ginger.  I thought that was very interesting, so on my way home, I stopped at the store and bought some fresh basil and some crystalized ginger.   I decided to go with the crystalized ginger because of the sweet heat that it provides and because of the texture......sort of like a raisin, but with an attitude.   Now, don't get me wrong, raisins have their place....in oatmeal cookies, in trail mix, etc., but not necessarily in my mouth.   They are not my favorite dried fruit.

When I got home, I took a small leaf of basil, wrapped it around a little piece of ginger and popped it in my mouth.  Can you hear the choirs of angels singing??  Well, I sure did.  The flavor was incredible.  That sweet, almost licorice note from the basil with the mild, sweet heat from the crystalized ginger made me sit up and sing.

So, I made the basic shortbread cookie dough, and kept the vanilla in the mix, but added 2 teaspoons of dried basil and 1/2 cup of minced crystalized ginger.  Baked them and before the cookies could cool off and have the royal icing applied to them, my husband at 7 of them, right off the cookie sheet.  He unhinged his jaw and they were G-O-N-E, gone!!!!

Now, the next time I make these, I will use fresh basil to see what happens with the favor and will let y'all know how that turns out.

But in the mean time.....these are pretty darn great.  Taste testers loved them.  One person was not that fussy about them, but she is not crazy about ginger.  Most importantly, I have several other flavor combinations up my sleeve for this simple cookie dough and as I work through the recipes and the amounts of ingredients, I will post them for you.

In the mean time, please try this flavor combination......they are phenomenal.  Here is the entire recipe for you:

This recipe makes 30 cookies

For the cookies
1 cup of butter at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons of dried basil
1/2 cup of minced crystalized ginger
Beat until completely mixed

Then, add 2 1/4 cups flour, a pinch of salt and beat until mixed

Preheat oven to 400' F.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and flatten into discs, about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick
Place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown

I frosted my cookies with royal icing, but you can frost them with any plain icing that you like.

Royal Icing - These amounts have been adjusted for the recipe so that not very much is left over
1 teaspoon meringue powder
1 - 1/4 cups of confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
Mix the meringue powder into the powdered sugar, add 1/8 of the water and vanilla mixture to start with and beat on medium with a hand held mixer until mixed and thickened a bit fluffy.  You may or may not need a little bit more of the vanilla water that remains. 

Spread about 1 teaspoon of icing on each cookie and let the icing dry.  This icing will dry to a firm consistency, but will not be so hard that it will crack or crumble.  You can use a bit more if you like.  Also, using a pastry bag with a very small tip works well too.

From my purple kitchen to you!!!

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