Monday, June 7, 2010

Mint Lemon Shortbread

This week I want to introduce you to my garden. It’s a modest suburban garden but I guarantee you that every square inch brings my family joy. We have a nice variety, a collection of about seven different herbs, tomatoes, four varieties of peppers, lettuce, radishes, carrots, green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, and pumpkins. In my collection of herbs I am happy to say that my mint plant not only survived the winter but also is really back in full force. Thus given it’s heartiness I thought it could withstand a few recipes experiments and would be the perfect subject for this week’s ingredient choice.

Mint is one of summer’s most refreshing herbs. It is extremely aromatic with clean flavors. One technique that I think optimizes this aromatic quality is baking. Through the baking process the mint releases its oils, infusing the mint taste and fragrance throughout. One of my favorite items to bake is a cookie, so naturally I had to find the right cookie to showcase my freshly picked mint.

When choosing the type of cookie, it seemed important to choose something simple that would enhance the mint flavor and not cover it up. Uncomplicated butter cookies provide a clean palette with sweetness that varies from shortbread to sugar cookies. Because mint seems to have minimal need for much sugar and often is balanced with some type of citrus, I chose shortbread with a dusting of powdered sugar for just the right amount of sweetness and lemon for my citrus bitterness. This provides a light, melt in your mouth cookie with beautiful mint flavors.

And now shall we say, “Bon appetite, now we may eat!”

Mint Lemon Shortbread

(24 cookies)

1 cup unsalted butter, very soft

1 ½ cup flour

½ powdered sugar

2 T cornstarch

½ tsp salt

1 T fresh mint, minced

1 tsp lemon zest

Powdered sugar for dusting

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Scoop onto cookie sheet, lined with silpat. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Dust with powdered sugar while warm.

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