Herbal Cookies

CA KateOctober 7, 2013

Found this recipe in Fine Cooking:

Recipe: Buttermint Cookies
by Susan Belsinger
Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
This versatile recipe can be made with practically any herb-lemon balm, lemon verbena, anise hyssop, rosemary, and more (leave out the mint extract if using other herbs). They can also be made in the food processor, and the dough can be rolled up and kept in the freezer for a month or so, and then sliced and baked as needed. Once baked, they store well in a tin for about a week, and in the freezer for up to a month.

These cookies first appeared in Gourmet Magazine in 1980 and then in Herbs in the Kitchen by Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger, Interweave Press, 1996; they are a tried and true herbal butter cookie.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 extra-large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, optional
2 cups unbleached white flour, sifted
2 tablespoons minced peppermint, spearmint or orange mint leaves
Pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and the extracts. Gradually mix in the flour, and stir in the minced peppermint and a pinch of salt. The dough will be soft.

Divide the dough into 2 parts. Using plastic wrap to shape the dough, roll each part into a cylinder about 1 1/4-inches in diameter. Chill the rolls for an hour, or place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350� F. Remove the plastic wrap and slice the dough into 1/4-inch rounds. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden brown. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets while they are hot and cool on racks.

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Mintman2013(6 PA)

Thanks for the recipe!!!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 4:54PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

Adding 1/2 cup of chopped fresh or dried mint to brownie mix is an easy and tasty. Chocolate mint is a wonderful variety to use.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 11:20AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Yum! I bet if you skipped the extract and substituted lavender it would be a nice variation.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 7:58PM
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gvozdika(8 OR)

FataMorgana, How would you use the lavender? Any lavender? Have a small lavender plant and would love to try it :) thank you.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:24PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Dried lavender buds are better for cookies and other baking; fresh are better for infusing simple syrups or making sorbets, etc. I make a lavender citrus linzer cookie a lot since I also make too much jam for us to eat on toast. There are some varieties that are better flavored--most of the culinary lavenders are English lavandula angustifolia, though a few of the intermedias are also useable in culinary applications. If yours is a French or Spanish lavender, they're usually more ornamental or grown for the oils. My understanding is that they taste a bit more medicinal, but you could try it anyway.

To add dried buds to cookies, etc, I usually grind them in my spice (coffee) grinder until fine, then add them to the butter batter before adding the flour. If your grinder doesn't do a great consistency, you can try adding a bit of the sugar to give it some more bulk while grinding. (incidentally--google making lavender sugar or honey). The sugar is fun to sprinkle on top for some extra sparkle and aroma/flavor. I would start with 1 Tbsp for this recipe, going up to 2 if you really like lavender.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 12:02AM
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CA Kate

Ooh! Yummy ideas. I don't have any Lavender buds right now.... but I suppose I could get some at WF.

How much shredded Peppermint to the Brownies?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 1:36PM
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gvozdika(8 OR)

Thank you! I'll wait for the flower buds next year. I don't know what kind of lavender it is. It has silvery grey leaves and smells very good. Was wondering if it is ok to use the leaves, well till next year :)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 6:21PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Most lavenders have the silvery grey leaves and smell. You could do some google searching to match the leaf shape and flower stalk & flower shape for a close guess. If the leaves are serrated or ferny, that's usually a sign of an ornamental variety. But as I stated, you may not be able to tell the difference.

I do use dried lavender leaf in an Herbes de Provence blend along with the buds for extra lavender flavor. I believe they also work for tea, but have more of the 'piney' flavor without the sweet notes that the buds can have. I don't know that they would work for blending into cookies, but they're not poisonous or anything, so it wouldn't hurt. The texture just might not be as appealing, especially in a butter cookie.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 11:21PM
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gvozdika(8 OR)

Thanks! That's where I get lost - searching the Internet :) I think it looks like English lavender I see on the Internet but has silvery leaves. It is certaintly not ornamental. I might like the piny flavor of the leaves :) When I was a child we ate pine shoots in the spring time and they were great! Thank you for the information!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:52PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Way off cookie topic, but another couple options. Dried lavender flower stems (after stripping buds) or bunches of dried leaves can be used in a fireplace for aroma, or on a grill for smoking/flavor.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 7:57PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I made some. They tasted fine but if I want to make them again, I will make a softer dough and add some baking soda to it.

That was the same as sugar cookies, except for the herbs. Also I make SC with vegetable oil , not butter.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 3:57AM
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CA Kate

Season: which herb(s) did you use?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 8:59PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

westelle .... I just used some mint. That is what I had handy.
I think a softer dough with some baking soda could improve it.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 1:27AM
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