Thursday Evening in the Garden Recipes

We've been enjoying trying new recipes at our Thursday Evenings in the Garden. Each week we've made at least one new food, using fresh herbs. One year, our visiting artist, Lucy Sander Sceery, brought two batches of fabulous cookies. We thank Lucy for sharing the recipes with us here. 

Butterfly Cookies (from Lucy Sander Sceery)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled

1 1/2 cups unsifted flour

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. lemon zest

About 3/4 cup sugar

In a large bowl cut butter into flour with pastry blender until resembles coarse crumbs. This also can be done in a food processor. Stir in sour cream and lemon zest. Place on sheet of waxed paper and shape into a 4 1/2 inch square. Wrap and chill at least 2 hours.

Unwrap and cut square into 4 equal parts. Work with only one piece at a time, and refrigerate the remainder. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. sugar on a flat surface, and coat all sides of dough with sugar. Roll out dough on the sugared surface, turning often, into a 12 X 5 rectangle. Mark center on 12-inch edge. Roll up from  5-inch side to the marked center on both ends. It looks like a scroll when you're done. Wrap well in plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill again in freezer 20 minutes or  refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil (I use silicone sheets).  Do NOT use Cushion air pans.

Place 1/4 cup sugar on waxed paper. Slice each scroll crosswise into 1/2-inch slices, dip each slice into the sugar. Place on cookie sheet, 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake 14 minutes at 375 until golden around edges. With spatula turn cookies over and bake 5 minutes more. Remove to wire rack immediately. 
Makes 40 cookies    These freeze well if you wrap well.

Jan Hagels (from Lucy Sander Sceery)

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, separated

1 tsp. almond extract

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 Tbsp. sugar combined with 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add egg yolk and almond extract, blending thoroughly.  Stir in flour. Turn dough onto an ungreased 15 X 10 X 1 inch jelly roll pan. Spread evenly to edges with a spatula.

Beat egg white until foamy white; spread evenly over dough; sprinkle almonds on top. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over nuts. 

Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack, 10 minutes. Cut into 8 lengthwise strips, then into 12 diagonal cuts to form diamond shapes. Cool thoroughly in pan; remove carefully with a spatula. 
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from Bon Appetit. Recipe easily doubles. This can be made ahead and chilled overnight or longer till ready to cook.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup (1stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut  into 1/2" cubes

2 Tbsp.finely sliced fresh basil  leaves

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (or more to taste)

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (or use some lime juice if desired)

1/2 tsp.finely grated lime zest (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form. Dump mixture onto a working surface and roll into a long roll about 1 -1 1/2" wide (based on the size you want your cookies). Wrap and chill until ready to bake. (Alternately, you can roll tablespoonfuls of dough and place directly on a cookie sheet, 2" apart. Flatten and bake.)

When ready to bake, slice refrigerated rolls thinly and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees till the edges are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Can be frozen.

Crisp Rosemary Flatbread

(Adapted from Gourmet magazine.) An easy, tasty “cracker,” good alone or with a dip like hummus. Rather than cutting the dough into small pieces, you bake three large pieces, then break them into smaller ones to serve. We thought it needed extra seasoning, and tried it with grated parmesan on top as well as seasoning olive oil with extra rosemary, salt and pepper. You can adapt this recipe to lots of different herbs and flavors.

1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1-3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (according to preference)

1 tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. salt (or more to taste)

black pepper (optional)

½ cup water

1/3 cup olive oil (plus more for brushing)

Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet on rack in middle.

Stir together flour, rosemary, baking powder, and salt (and optional pepper) in a medium bowl. Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour  until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.

Divide dough into 3 pieces. Cover 2 pieces with plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, roll out the third piece on a sheet of parchment paper into a 10-inch round (shape can be rustic; dough should be VERY thin). (A little flour may be needed on the rolling pin or parchment paper to help with rolling.)

Pour additional olive oil into a small cup and flavor with extra minced rosemary, salt and pepper (experiment!). Brush onto the dough round. (If desired, score the surface very lightly with a pizza wheel into “cracker” squares.)

Slide round (still on parchment) onto preheated baking sheet and bake until pale golden and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer flatbread (discard parchment) to a rack to cool, then make 2 more rounds (1 at a time) on fresh parchment (do not oil or salt until just before baking). Break into pieces. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Lemon Rosemary Cookies

(Adapted from Herb Society of America Pioneer Unit.) The original recipe called for more rosemary, but we thought this was the perfect amount. We really loved these cookies!

 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp. lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. finely minced fresh rosemary

1 tbsp. finely minced fresh lemon balm or lemon verbena

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, then add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add lemon juice and zest, vanilla, rosemary and lemon balm. Mix well. Divide dough into 2 long rolls, wrap in waxed paper, and chill for several hours or overnight (or freeze). Slice into ¼-inch slices and arrange on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Pineapple Sage Pound Cake

Be sure to use the small, new sage leaves, which have the most pineapple flavor. I mixed a little pineapple juice with sugar and brushed it over the top when the cake came out of the oven.

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
5 eggs
2 tbsp. finely chopped pineapple sage leaves

3 tbsp. coarsely chopped pineapple sage flowers (if available; if not, add 2 more tbsp. of chopped leaves) 
1 tsp. lemon zest (or more to taste) 
4 tbsp. well-squeezed crushed pineapple
2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Cream the butter and the sugar until very light and fluffy. Beat in the honey. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to beat for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the sage and lemon zest. Stir flour and baking powder together and gently fold into the butter mixture, until just blended.

Pour into 4 greased miniature loaf pans (6” by 3 ¼” by 2”), if you have them (or use one regular size loaf pan). Bake at 325°F oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until they test done (cook the larger loaf for about 60 minutes or till done). Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, then turn out of pans and continue to cool.

Orange Basil Cookies

Adapted from Potlicker Kitchen blog. Good flavor. Because my personal preference is for crisp cookies, I think next time I’ll try rolling the dough and then slicing it thinly to bake.

2 cups flour

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter

1 egg

¾ cup sugar

1 Tbsp. orange zest (or more to taste)

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

1/3 cup finely minced fresh basil leaves

More sugar for rolling

Cream the butter and sugar. Add egg, orange zest and juice, and basil. Mix well. Beat in the dry ingredients. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

Roll dough into 1” balls and then roll in sugar. Place dough balls on greased cookie sheets. Gently press to flatten the cookies a bit so they will spread further and cool to more of a crisp cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes until the edges are golden.

Cool on a wire rack.

Lemon Balm Bread

(Adapted from Texas Gardener website.) Moist and lemony! We made it the night before because the recipe said it would taste even better the day after it is cooked. The only odd thing is look of the minced balm on the top – but it didn’t hold anyone back from gobbling up the bread.

¾ cup sugar

½ cup butter (1 stick)

¼ cup finely chopped fresh lemon balm leaves

2 eggs

1½ cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup milk

1 tbsp. lemon zest

Drizzle topping:

½ cup sugar

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh lemon balm leaves

3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Grease three mini-loaf pans or one regular loaf pan.

Cream sugar with butter, then add finely chopped lemon balm leaves and eggs. Beat well until smooth.

Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, then add milk and lemon zest. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour evenly into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of the pan) or until the bread tests done in the center.

While the bread is baking, make the topping. In a small saucepan, combine the topping ingredients and cook for 1 minute, stirring. When the bread is done, remove from oven and poke numerous holes in the surface with a toothpick. Pour the drizzle over the top and let the bread sit in the pan for several hours to absorb the drizzle.