You have probably been wondering about our absence from the blogging world over these past couple of weeks. As always, we have been testing out new recipes to include in today’s and upcoming posts, and exploring new possibilities for our website. Do check back with us often for new and exciting changes to come.
We also wanted to spend time with my sister, who came over from Germany to visit. A little sightseeing and just plain and simple one-on-one visiting and spending time together took precedence. The time spent was special to all of us, especially, since we don’t get to do this very often.
Just prior to her visit, a very special little dog named Suki stole our hearts and entered our home. We found her (or she found us) at our local animal shelter, where , on occasion, we volunteer our time to visit and interact with the animals. You can see some photos of her in our flickr page (sidebar).
Back to our test kitchen results – I was looking to create something new, that did not involve a lot of sugar, chocolate or frosting, and perhaps included the use of a”savory” herb in a dessert. Originally, I had planned on using lavender blossoms in the recipe, but due to the seasonal unavailability of it, chose to go with rosemary instead.
I’ve learned that rosemary is native to the Mediterranean area. The botanical name is “Rosmarinus Officinalis,” and is derived from the old Latin “dew of the sea,” referring to its pale blue dew-like flowers
and also due to the fact that it is often grown near the sea. It is a woody, perennial herb, a member of the mint family “Lamiaceae.” The use of this aromatic herb dates back to 500 B.C. when it was used as both a culinary and medicinal herb by the ancient Greeks and Romans. These ancient cultures valued its use for improving memory and rejuvenating the spirits. In fact, scientists at the University of Cincinnati attribute the scent of rosemary as an effective memory stimulant. So how about placing a nice potted rosemary plant on your desk, or where the kids do their homework. Let us know, how that works out. It is an attractive, beautifully scented plant and would make a great addition in anyone’s kitchen window.
On an interesting side note, in the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies – the bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary, and from this association with weddings, rosemary evolved into a love charm. Newlywed couples would plant a branch of rosemary on their wedding day. If the branch grew it was a good omen for the union and family.
Even Shakespeare mentioned rosemary in Hamlet, iv.5, where Ophelia says: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
If you would like to read more about rosemary’s purported health benefits you can check out a couple of websites. One is the Univ. of Maryland Medical Center, another one of great interest is a British site, The Healthier Life.
The recipe requires only a few simple ingredients and is very easy to make. I do recommend the use of a food processor, however.
- 2 sticks (8 oz.) of organic, grass-fed butter
- 1 organic, high omega-3 egg
- 1/4 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 tsp. Himalaya salt
- 1-1/2 cups brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
- 1 tsp. guar gum
- parchment paper, or silicone pads to line cookie sheets
- Small amount of extra rice flour for dusting the board
Cut the butter into small cubes and add to food processor together with the sugar and salt.
Finely chop the rosemary (leaves only) and add to the ingredients in the processor.
Process until all ingredients are well blended. Then add the egg and the flour and continue to process until the dough forms a smooth well formed mass. Remove from processor, wrap with plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
While the dough is setting, preheat your oven to 300°F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, dust a baking board with a small amount of rice flour. Cut the dough in half and role out on the prepped board to about 1/3-inch thickness. Use any favorite cookie cutter, we used a standard round one, cut the shortbread and place on a lined cookie sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. The cookies will look very light, not even light brown. Remove and place on a cooling rack.
Continue to roll out the remaining dough and repeat the steps as shown until all the dough is used up.
However, tempting it may be, do let the shortbread cookies cool completely before eating, because the texture is best the next day. Shortbread can be made a couple of days ahead and only improves in taste and texture. I’ve found that the rosemary actually complements the shortbread and adds a new aromatic flair to an old favorite. This shortbread is not overly sweet, yet very tasty and your kitchen will be filled with the wonderful aroma of rosemary. Enjoy with your favorite cup of tea or coffee.