Friday, December 23, 2011

Revisiting an old recipe

Rosemary, Pine nut, and Pumpkin Seed Shortbread Cookies

I've written about these cookies before.  In fact, the last time I wrote about them, it was also right before Christmas.  That fact is merely coincidental.  It's not that these are holiday cookies per se, but they are unique in their flavor and texture and I like making them because they are different and delicious.  I came back to this recipe -- making a few changes, of course -- because I had been on the search for the prefect recipe to send to B.

B. is the one who cooks for me.  He is the one who dances with me in the living room.  And he is currently living an ocean away from me.  As part of his Christmas gift, I decided to send him cookies.  This may sound like a simple decision, but in reality, it was one that I agonized over for weeks.  Yes, weeks.  I couldn't send mediocre cookies.  I couldn't send cookies that he'd already tasted before.  And I had to send cookies that would travel well, since even with fast shipping, it was likely to take about 5 days for them to get to him.  

These cookies were winners.

These Rosemary, Pine nut, and Pumpkin Seed Shortbread Cookies are both savory and sweet.  Browned butter and ground, toasted nuts and seeds make the cookies very fragrant.  The rosemary and vanilla add an earthy sweetness.  There is nothing like these cookies.  They are flavorful, incredibly easy to eat, and so different that no one who you serve this to will forget about them.  (It may help that rosemary aids with long-term memory).  And don't worry, despite all the savory sounding ingredients, these cookies can most definitely be served as a dessert item.  They are also great as a gift since they can be easily packaged and they keep for a good amount of time (as do most shortbread cookies, since they aren't particularly moist).

These cookies made it safely to B.'s doorstep last night and now that they have his stamp of approval (and his mother's!), I share the recipe with you.

Merry (early) Christmas!

Rosemary, Pine Nut, and Pumpkin Seed Shortbread Cookies

1 stick of butter (unsalted)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp rosemary
scant 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour

Brown butter carefully over medium heat, then allow it to cool. [In other words, cook the butter until it foams and bubbles and the milk solids begin to caramelize. When everything starts to smell nutty and the mixture is the color of the woody part of a pencil, remove from the heat]

Optional: very lightly toast the pumpkin seeds and pine nuts until they just start to color and smell fragrant.  Then allow them to cool.

Now you have two options.

Option A: Take out your food processor and throw in the pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and rosemary.  Pulse until finely ground and combined.  Add the brown butter, sea salt, brown sugar, white sugar, and flour.  Pulse until a dough comes together.  Turn the down out into a large bowl and kneed a few times to ensure proper mixing.

Option B: If you do not have a food processor, finely chop and mince the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds by hand.  This may take a while (about 15-20 minutes), but it is a very Zen experience and is actually quite fun to do.  This is made easier if you have a good, sharp knife.
Add the rosemary to the pile of ground/minced nuts and chop until very finely minced.
In a large bowl, combine the minced nuts, seeds, and rosemary.  Add the browned butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla.  Beat to combine.  Add the flour and beat until evenly combined.  Kneed the dough a few times to ensure proper mixing.

Now take your dough (doesn't matter if you took Option A or B) and turn it out onto a large sheet of saran wrap.  Form a log with a diameter of approximately 2 inches (give or take).
Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Unwrapped the dough and slice the cookies into ¼ inch rounds. Transfer to an aluminum or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until just golden, 13 to 15 minutes.

Let cool, then store in an airtight container for up to 7 days (if they last that long) at room temperature.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies

1 comment:

  1. I would like these cookies in my belly please.