8.12.2017

Herb: Not the Guy Next Door.

I just finished writing a cookbook to benefit the Tucson Botanical Gardens, based on the plant collection in their Herb Garden.

Its title is From Mrs. Porter’s Herb Garden, named for the garden’s creator. It contains a short history of the Gardens, as well as a brief write up of the herbs there now, as well as those that were in Mrs. Porter’s historical garden.

For each herb there is a black-and-white photo to help with identification, and - the fun part for me - a recipe.

When I applied for the grant from a local foundation, I blithely budgeted for 10 hours of writing time, which included my research time.

What was I thinking? Needless to say, it took me a lot longer to do this. A lot longer.

I really didn't mind, because I love the subject matter, enjoyed the research, and I loved doing it for the Gardens. It is one of Mark’s and my favorite spaces in Tucson.

Even on a triple-digit day, it is pleasant to stroll through the gardens and see what is blooming, or simply sip a lemonade in the dappled shade.

The book is for sale only at the Tucson Botanical Gardens Gifts Shops, but that gives you a good excuse to visit. If you cannot visit, call the Gift Shop - they can send you the book! 100% of the purchase price benefits the Gardens.

The recipe below is one I created especially for the book.

Enjoy!

~ David

Lemon Verbena Butter Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves *
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
jam for filling (any flavor you choose; I made mine with plum)


Place 1/4 cup of the sugar and place it in a spice grinder with the chopped lemon verbena. Process for a few seconds to distribute the verbena.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; add the verbena sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the yolks and vanilla and beat until well-mixed and smooth. With the mixer on at the slowest setting, add the flour and mix until a soft dough forms.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line cookie sheets with parchment.

Roll out the dough on a well-floured board to 3/16-inch, and cut into circles using a 2 1/2-inch cutter. With a 3/4-inch cookie cutter, cut a hole in the center of half the cookies. (The “holes” can be pulled together, re-rolled, and cut into additional cookies.) Use a small spatula to transfer them to the cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden around the bottom edges. The thickness of your pan will alter baking time so start watching at 9 minutes.

When cool, turn the cookies without the holes upside down and spread a little jam on each. Top each with a cookie ring, bottom side to the jam, and press lightly to make a sandwich. The jam will push up through the hole. Cookies can be dusted with confectioner’s sugar, or served without as shown.

Makes 2-3 dozen filled cookies, and 5 dozen plain cookies.


* If you don't have lemon verbena, you can use the grated zest of a lemon. The flavor is actually more lemon-y!


32 comments:

  1. TEN hours, David? Oh my goodness, you did your good deed for the year, then! :) That's a wonderful project, and although it did take you considerably longer, I'm sure you did enjoy it.

    I love this recipe for Lemon and Verbena butter cookies! I'm sure the rest of the recipes are just as awesome! Congratulations and I can't wait to see the book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christina - in my head I was thinking, "Most of the recipes are all done... now it's just the herb text. Ten hours? Piece of cake." ... but, oh, what a cake!

      Delete
  2. Oh, David. I am so going to get this cook book. I collect them although I don't seem to cook that much! I will be "on" these cookies, though. Right away. Thanks for all you do, you creative one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elise - you are so sweet! The cookies are a breeze and, if you don't have the verbena, lemon zest works well!

      Delete
  3. Such a beautiful recipe and congratulations on the book I bet it's a beautiful read.

    ReplyDelete
  4. well done! ... 10 hours??!!? :)))
    even for my little books: 2 years per book! :)
    ... anyway: nice, isn't it? ciao, stefano

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a slim volume, Stefano - but I still think 10 hours was crazy!

      Delete
  5. Congratulations, David! This sounds like the perfect book for you to write. I was recently asked if I knew anyone who had written a cookbook and I had replied "no" - but now I do. I'm working on a compilation cookbook (early stages) for Radnor Hunt where we're members. I've already put in way more than 10 hours and we haven't even started testing our members' recipes so I had to laugh at your estimate (and hoped that perhaps you had meant to say 100)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you are doing this, Nicole - you will have a lot of fun compiling this. The recipe testing is fun, and will probably add a few pounds! :)

      Delete
  6. As I said on FB, congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congrats on the cookbook! (Ten hours - yikes!) Sounds like a fun project for a great cause. These cookies look like they would perfectly match an afternoon cup of tea...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I can't say for sure how they would be with tea, Cali (as I have never even tried tea!), but I can say they go well with cocoa!

      Delete
  8. Congratulations David, it looks like a lovely book. Those are my kind of cookies and I have lemon verbena in my tiny garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Gerlinde! Lucky you to have the verbena in your garden!

      Delete
  9. Congratulations, how wonderful. These biscuits look absolutely sublime and I love that you've used verbena!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations on the cookbook, David! I know it's gonna be a great success :) These lemon sandwich cookies look completely delicious!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Marcelle! I hope it is a success for the Gardens!

      Delete
  11. David, how wonderful! Lovely cookbook. But 10 hours? Well, you donated your time to a good cause! These cookies look fabulous! I don't have any lemon verbena so will probably use zest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is really the way I feel, Jean! It is a great cause and I hope it does well for them. (And the cookies are wonderful with lemon zest!)

      Delete
  12. This is such a great thing to hear, David. What a wonderful cookbook it must be. Congrats!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, John! It is a slim volume but it was fun to research, write, and photograph!

      Delete
  13. Gorgeous cookies. I have a GIANT lemon verbena by my patio door and I love hearing new ideas for it's delicate, lilting lemon essence! GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you can brag about your giant lemon verbena, Greg! They are tough to grow here!

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. Thanks, Liz - it was nothing in comparison to the work you did on your book, but it was still a fun project!

      Delete
  15. The Tucson Botanical Gardens were soooo lucky to get you to write this book! It promises to be beautiful and to be filled with wonderful recipes! This one looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was really fun, Susan - and I hope the Gardens is happy with the book!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.