Lemon Basil Flower Shortbread Cookies

The initial peppery taste of the basil flowers in these cookies quickly gives way to their more subtle sweetness, easily balanced with the lemon to create a sweet and savory shortbread.

Butch and I had a heck of a time this week. Let’s just say that not everything went according to plan. That seems to be the theme in my life lately, and hers too from what I gathered over our dinner conversation.  Without disclosing excessive personal information, well, that wh0le story gets hard to tell.  Geez. Sorry that’s so boring! Um, uh…we’re loved. [Sometimes well, sometimes very very badly. –B.] And hopefully you still love me too after that train wreck of an introduction! Haha! 

Speaking of train wrecks….we also made some ice cream that you’ll notice isn’t in this post. Lemon Verbena Buttermilk ice cream just sounds SO good. It even looked beautiful. Sad thing is it tasted bitter. And even after adding more sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, etc. it was edible, but not postable. I’ll spare you that recipe.  I’m personally inclined to blame the buttermilk base recipe I experimented with. I think I’m going to make a second attempt using my sweet cream recipe. [Lemon verbena is such a delicate flavor it’s easy to overwhelm, and buttermilk isn’t exactly shy and retiring, as dairies go. –B.]

Luckily, however, the shortbread we were going to pair with it turned out beautifully! I love how the green basil remains green despite the baking process. It’s an absolutely beautiful cookie, fresh, refreshing and an excellent munching treat. I took them to Trivia for my friends and they were gobbled up. It also gave me a chance to try out cooking with my basil flowers! Which I am so excited about!

Cooking with the flowers of an herb is simple. Their flowers taste like the herb, only milder. Basil flowers taste like basil, just less dense in flavor. You can replace the basil in any recipe with basil flowers just be prepared to put in a ton more! I’d recommend them as a garnish! 
basil flowers, lemon verbena and lemon basil shortbread cookies

Lemon Basil Shortbread

1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 or 2 T. lemon peel (to taste)
2 T. basil flowers or 1 ½ T. fresh basil leaves chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cold and cut into small pieces

To begin to make the shortbread, in a small bowl beat together egg and vanilla extract until yolk is broken up and evenly combined; set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add butter and mix until mixture looks like sand. Add egg mixture and mix just until dough comes together. Add lemon zest and basil. Form into a flat, rectangular disk, wrap in plastic, and chill at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375°F. Place dough on a 14-inch piece of parchment paper, lightly flour, and roll into a 13-by-8-inch oval, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer parchment paper with dough to a baking sheet, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate again for 15 minutes.

Cut each cookie into a small circle using either a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass.

Place on a baking sheet and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.