when i first saw that basil was an ingredient in these cookies, i balked. why would anyone put basil in a shortbread cookie? that's crazypants. but then i thought more about it and i became intrigued. so this past saturday i made sure i came home from the green city farmers market with a bunch of basil.
i can't even tell you how hot it is in my apartment right now. my apartment which does not have air conditioning. we're in the middle of the standard chicago style july heat wave. we are hot. we are sticky. but we want cookies. the last thing you want to do in this weather is turn on the oven but what did i do sunday afternoon? i turned it up to 375 and made these cookies.
these cookies have a great shortbread texture: firm, dense, not too crumbly. and the lemon-lime combination makes for a subtle zing when you bite into them. the hint of basil is a treat too, bringing these cookies from a standard shortbread to something special.
they're even better a day or two after you make them because the basil has time to make its presence known a bit more. just try them.
lemon-lime basil shortbread cookies
adapted from bon appetit magazine, july 2011
these cookies are so easy to make, all you need is a food processor. you dump all of the ingredients in and hit the pulse button a few times and bam! you gots you some cookie dough. they don't make cookies any easier than that, my friends.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
sanding sugar (optional)
preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. place flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zests, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. pulse until large, moist clumps form. measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls. place on a large baking sheet, spacing 2" apart. (or place them around haphazardly as i know you really do. or at least that's how my mom does it.)
press cookies into 2" rounds. (i just used my fingers, but the original recipe says to coat the bottom of a measuring cup with powdered sugar and press down the balls of dough but that was too complicated for me. your fingers will work just as fine.) sprinkle tops of cookies with sanding sugar, if using.
bake until edges are brown, about 20 minutes. transfer to wire rack; let cool.
yield: the original recipe says about 16 but i only managed to get 12 out of one batch. plus i ate three while they were cooling, so my yield was considerably lower.