Back in mid-October, I saw a tweet about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and I was immediately intrigued. It took me about two seconds to decide to participate. (Really, they had me at "cookies.") This event, which is in its second year, brings together food bloggers from around the world with one mission -- to swap delicious cookies. This year, the swap also partnered with Cookies for Kids' Cancer to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Each participant was matched with the names and addresses of three other food bloggers. Our instructions were to send each of our matches a dozen cookies; in return we'd receive a dozen cookies from three different bloggers too. I received delicious espresso chocolate chip shortbread cookies from Sarah of Cooker Girl, honey-basil shortbread and chocolate mocha cookies from Justine at A Half-Baked Life, and peppermint crunch chocolate cookies from Denise at Addicted to Recipes. They were all delicious and I have to admit, none of them lasted very long in our house. I may or may not have had to fight D for the last espresso chocolate chip shortbread cookie.
My three batches of cookies went to Michelle of From Calculus to Cupcakes, Rosalynda of This Mama Can Cook!, and Janet from Simply So Good. I had a tough time deciding what cookies to bake for the swap. The only "rule" was that we were to bake a cookie that we hadn't featured on our blog before. After searching through a pile of recipes, I decided to give a Martha Stewart recipe for rosemary butter cookies a whirl. But of course, I had to add my own little spin to them -- I figured a little bit of lemon flavor would complement the savory taste of rosemary. Also, instead of following Martha's instructions for rolling the dough into a log and cutting circular slices, I chose to roll out the cookies and cut them into small flower shapes. Wild and crazy, I know.
I really liked how these cookies turned out -- they are the perfect complement to a warm cup of tea. I hope that you will give these a try -- they are definitely worth the effort.
Rosemary-Lemon Butter Cookies (adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe)
makes about 45 cookies (output depends on size of cookie cutter used)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (feel free to add a bit more if you'd like a stronger lemon flavor)
2 1/2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Stir together the flour, rosemary, salt, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.
4. Stir in the egg, vanilla, and lemon juice at medium speed.
5. Turn the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Continue stirring until the dough just comes together.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured workspace. Pat into a 6" round. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 10 minutes. (Alternately, you can stop at this point, and chill the dough in the fridge for up to three days until ready to bake. Let the dough stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes to slightly soften before rolling it out.)
7. Place the chilled dough on a lightly-floured workspace. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large circle of about 1/4" thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut the cookies into your desired shape.
8. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with coarse sanding sugar.
9. Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes. or until the cookies are lightly golden on the edges.
10. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.