30 May 2011
Random Recipes - Sweet Basil & Lemon Shortbread
This is my first time entering Dom's Random Recipes. I just love the idea, but never got around to giving it a go. In fact, I will be lucky to scrape in past the deadline this month. Here's hoping!
This month Dom asked us to pick a dessert, so I made a pile of my baking & dessert cookbooks, got my mum to give them a shuffle, then with eyes closed selected one.
My hand struck a rather lovely and quite a new addition to my collection. Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky.
Hannah blogs over at Bitter Sweet. Her name was familiar to me before I received a lovely review copy of this book, but I had never visited her blog.
Bittersweet is a great place to visit. I can guarantee you will go away hungry and wanting more. Her photos are beautiful and droolworthy as my friend Val would say. I was completely won over when I opened this gorgeous cookbook, although a little nervous about some of the lesser known ingredients. The sort of fantastical basics that I always read about over at Diet, Dessert & Dogs.
So, as you can imagine, I was a wee bit nervous when throwing open the book for my random recipe. I knew from having a good old bedtime browse through the cookbook, that there were a few recipes I had ingredients for or could even just identify all the ingredients. I thought, I might just have to adapt a few ingredients, perhaps with the help of Ricki, I was under a time constraint after all. But, by heck I was lucky and landed on one I had all the ingredients for. Can you believe it? I couldn't! I think it may be because it was repeatedly looked at. Oh and the other bit of fabulousness was that it is already in cup measures. Yippee! Easy peasy!
Sweet Basil Shortbread (with Lemon)
¾ cup non-dairy margarine
1 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
½ cup cornstarch (cornflour)
½ cup confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
Preheat your oven to 300f (gas mark 2/150c/130-140 fan oven) and line two baling sheets with parchment (greaseproof) paper.
Toss the margarine into your stand mixer (or hand mixer) and beat it by itself just to soften it a bit. Add in the flour, starting the mixer at a slow speed so that is doesn't send powder flying out. Once that has been completely incorporated. Follow it with the cornstarch (cornflour), and then with the sugar.
Chiffonade (finely slice) the basil and toss it in while the mix is still very powdery so that it is covered in flour and evenly distributed. Finally, add the lemon juice and zest, along with the salt, and simply process until it all comes together into a cohesive ball of dough. It may seem very dry and unlikely to stick together at all, but give it time - it could take as long as 5 minutes. You might need to remove it from the bowl near the end and knead the last dry bits in by hand.
On a lightly floured surface, sprinkle the dough with just a touch more flour, and roll it out to a thickness of about ¼ inch. It you have trouble rolling it out smoothly or find it is too sticky to work with , let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so before continuing (I left in in the fridge overnight). Cut into squares of about 1 ½ inches on each side (I cut into circular biscuits using a glass); move to a prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 16-20 minutes (mine took more like 25 minutes), until the edges just begin to take on some color, but you really don't want to brown these. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 10 minutes, and then move them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Makes 1-2 dozen cookies
I loved this shortbread. I rolled it, cut it and popped it into the oven before I headed off to work today, so it was still cooling when I left. Graham reliably informed me they were really good and Cooper loved the one he was allowed to try. I split one with Cooper when I got home and they are a delight. The lemon and basil are there, but they are subtle flavours that just peek out to entice you. Lovely!
Just a couple of reminders before I go:
* The Food Blog Diary still has events that are currently running and will be updated with new events at the beginning of June.
* With Ruth's permission, I have resurrected the Bookmarked Recipes challenge. If like me you collect a plethora of fabulous recipes you can't wait to try and then never get around to making, why not use this challenge as a good reason to delve in. It will run all month until the last Friday of June, then i'll start a new month's challenge on the last Sunday in June. There is a linky at the end of the post, so you can add your entry or entries. Please only post those that are suitable for vegetarians, you can make suggestions if they aren't quite there. I do hope you all join in and free the recipes!
Disclosure Statement: I received this book free from the publisher to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.