"A man taking basil from a woman will love her always."
- Sir Thomas Moore
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I recently hosted a Mother’s Day brunch, where I used a bunch of fresh herbs in each of the featured dishes. As a result, I've been looking for ways to use the rest of the basil, rosemary, thyme, and sage that I bought.
That said, though you can buy pre-packaged herbs with ease, they don’t have a fantastic shelf life. Also, the herbs never taste as good as what my Nonna’s giardino (garden) would yield, which motivated me to renew my own backyard herb garden.
Off to the local farmer’s market I went to start my life as an urban farmer in Mississauga.
Planting chives, regular and garlic, Genovese basil, and rosemary, my garden took shape. Oh, and I am also a proud mother to a budding tomato plant! I can once again make my own sundried tomatoes :) It’s going to an exciting summer!
Anyways, back to the cookies. Since it is now the long weekend and the smoky smells of barbeques, burgers, and beers float though the warm May air, I decided to make the most of the long weekend and do some baking alongside all that gardening!
Drawing inspiration from my queen, Martha Stewart, and her recipe for rosemary butter cookies, I decided to take my own creative liberties.Thus, the sweet and savoury orange and basil cookie was born!
I guarantee that you will fall in love with them! How can I assure this? Well, my dad was super intrigued when he found out that I was making these cookies. He kept popping his head into my baking laboratory, a.k.a the kitchen, to check out the process.
Imagine my surprise when my father, a harsh cookie critique, declared that these sweet little bites were delicious. In fact, he even said that they were his "new favourite cookies." Amazing!
With a subtle basil aroma and an enticing twist of orange zest, these buttery bites are rich, yet fresh. They are also 100% perfect for any summer gathering.
I can’t wait to keep experimenting with herbs in all my cookie creations this summer! I invite you to bake these #decadentlysimple cookies this lazy long weekend!
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Orange Basil Shortbread
* Makes 4 dozen cookies *
• 1 cup butter, softened
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 ½ cups flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon orange zest
• 1 teaspoon basil, chopped
1. Mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium for 2 minutes until fluffy.
2. Add egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture. Reduce the speed to low and add flour, salt, orange zest, and basil. Mix until fully incorporated.
4. Divide the dough in half, forming into logs. Roll them into parchment paper until, ensuring that they are about 1 1/2” in diameter. Put the dough logs in the freezer for an hour or until firm.
6. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Cut the rolls into 1/4“ pieces. Place the cookies on a baking sheet, leaving 1” of space in between cookies. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
7. Let the cookies cool on a rack before enjoying with a tall glass of milk!