The Recipe I Had To Share – Rose Pistachio Shortbread

Rose Pistachio Shortbread | My Blue&White Kitchen

I didn't actually plan this to happen. Maybe you think "but she already posted a cookie recipe a few weeks ago!". Well, I can't blame you. This is probably considered "bad food blogging" to some standards, as a nice mix of different kinds of recipes is seen as being the ideal. However, as I'm not really organized when it comes to blogging at the moment (Will there be a post next week? What will it be about? Guys, I have no idea.), you're going to see what's going on in my kitchen anyway, blog or not. As it's December and holiday season, it's mostly sweet things, such as cookies. Okay, and pomegranate seeds in my morning yogurt but that's another story.

At 9pm last week, I suddenly got the urge to bake a batch of rose shortbread. You know when inspiration hits and there's just no way you could resist running into your kitchen? That happens every now and then, or at least it does happen to me. I was inspired by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks and Ashley of Gather & Feast who both blogged about rose shortbread a while ago. As I was making the dough, the idea of adding pistachios crossed my mind (probably cause I'm a sucker for Aran Goyoaga's Pistachio Sandies; a must-bake). First, I planned to make only round cookies, but that tiny dalahäst cookie cutter wanted to play along as well so I let him. He's just too cute, right?

I still wasn't completely sure whether I would blog about these beauties or not, but after getting rave reviews from a bunch of wonderful women at my most favorite yarn store, I knew I had no choice. It would be madness to keep you in the dark.

These are lovely for the holiday season but they would also be wonderful to serve at a wedding or a baby shower. Please note that the scent, strength, and quality of rosewater varies depending on which brand you use. If in doubt, start by adding only two thirds of the amount of rose water the recipe calls for, taste, and add more if necessary. The flavor should be present but not overwhelming. For these cookies, I used Steenbergs organic rose water.

Hope you're all having a wonderful and not too stressful pre-Christmas week!

Rose Pistachio Shortbread

makes 3 to 4 sheets, depending on the size of your cookies

300 g (5 ½ dl; 2 ⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
200 g (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 g (1 dl + 1 tbsp; ½ cup) granulated sugar
1 egg (European size M; U.S. size L)
1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 tbsp rose water
1 tbsp dried rose petals + more for sprinkling
45 g (¼ cup) pistachios, roughly chopped

In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl if necessary. Add the vanilla and rose water and mix. Add flour and mix until just combined. Finally, add the rose petals and pistachios. The dough will feel quite sticky, but resist the temptation to add more flour, as this would result in hard shortbread. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll out the dough to about 0,5 cm / 0.2" thick. Cut out the shortbread using a cookie cutter of your choice. Place onto the prepared baking sheets. Should the dough get too warm, put it back to the fridge for a while, as it's easiest to work with a well chilled dough. Sprinkle with rose petals.

Bake on the middle rack for 10 to 15 minutes or until they start to get golden brown around the edges. Should you bake shortbread of different sizes at the same time, be sure to take out the smaller ones earlier. Remove from the oven. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let cool completely before storing in a tin box or a jar.

Rose Pistachio Shortbread | My Blue&White Kitchen

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Now, Now, Now – Lavender Cookies

my blue&white kitchen

for how many years have you gone through the house
shutting the windows,
while the rain was still five miles away

and veering, o plum-colored clouds, to the north
away from you

and you did not even know enough
to be sorry,

you were glad
those silver sheets, with the occasional golden staple,

were sweeping on, elsewhere,
violent and electric and uncontrollable--

and will you find yourself finally wanting to forget
all enclosures, including

the enclosure of yourself, o lonely leaf, and will you
dash finally, frantically,

to the windows and haul them open and lean out
to the dark, silvered sky, to everything

that is beyond capture, shouting
i'm here, i'm here! now, now, now, now, now.

– Mary Oliver, "From The Book of Time"  in The Leaf and The Cloud: A Poem

Lavender Cookies | my blue&white kitchen

Lavender Cookies

adapted from A Piece of Cake by Leila Lindholm, p. 26
makes about 20 cookies

The original recipe calls for hartshorn salt, a leavening agent that has formerly been made from ground-up antlers of a hart, a male deer. A long time ago, it was widely used as a medicine to treat diarrhea, fevers, insect bites, and such. But it is more than just a medicine. In the 17th and 18th century, it was the forerunner of baking powder, used especially in German and Scandinavian baking, mostly in cookie recipes. Today, it's rarely used and, unlike it the early days, chemically produced. I've made this recipe numerous times using hartshorn salt which can still be purchased at the pharmacy. It lends a special crispness and lightness to cookies without leaving any unpleasant alkaline off-flavor. However, it doesn't have a long shelf life and it may be hard or even impossible to come by where you live, so I've substituted it with baking powder here. It can, however, be substituted with half the amount of hartshorn salt. In other words, 1 teaspoon of baking powder equals ½ teaspoon of hartshorn salt.

The flavor of these cookies will develop over time. Right after baking, the lavender aroma is rather aggressive, almost overwhelming. On the next day you will, however, have wonderfully fragrant cookies which are perfect served with a cup of coffee. They are like luscious pralines; you eat one at a time enjoying every bite.

100 g soft unsalted butter
90 g (3.2 oz; 1 dl; ⅓ cup + 1 ½ tbsp) granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste [or ½ vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out]
140 g (4.9 oz; 2 ½ dl; 1 cup) all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder [or ¼ tsp hartshorn salt]
pinch of salt
1 tbsp dried (or fresh) lavender buds

powdered sugar, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and lavender. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and pale in color. Add the vanilla bean paste. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

With the help of a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, scoop out the dough, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and, using your hands, form little balls. Place them on the baking sheet about 2,5 cm / 1 " apart.

Bake on the middle rack for about 15–20 minutes until lightly golden and not falling apart when touched. Let them cool for about 5 minutes. Roll them in powdered sugar while still warm.

Store in an airtight container.