All was golden on our hillside last night as the sun began to set just before dinner. My husband and I sat on the porch with a chilled glass of wine, watching as swirls of grey clouds topped the forest in the distance. As if some immortal being stretched its hand to touch the treetops, lavender and crimson rays of light filtered through the clouds. A gentle rain followed, with a light wind at its back. Perhaps it was not rain at all but the being’s tears of joy to mark the incredible beauty of the day. It was a sight to behold and a perfect way to start the evening after a heat-filled day outdoors.
What stories do you see in the clouds?
After such an incredible sight, dinner became a true celebration. We finished a light meal― Garden Salad and pasta tossed with Herb Pesto―with fresh fruit and this Anise Shortbread. Buttery morsels flavored with the licorice-like anise, the shortbread melts in your mouth. They are a perfect summer treat to dress up the freshest fruit of the moment. So good, they tend to disappear quickly from the cookie jar, so consider making a double batch to keep on hand throughout the summer!
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors soon.
DELICATE ANISE SHORTBREAD
Yield: About 30 cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for dusting
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons aniseed
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white wheat flour
- Fresh fruit of choice
- In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until smooth, creamy and pale. Add the orange or lemon juice and the aniseed and mix well. Reduce the speed to low, add the flours and continue to beat until well mixed. Or, mix the dough with your hands, incorporating any flour that might have fallen to the bottom of the bowl.
- Turn the dough out on a clean work surface. Divide in half, then form two logs of dough, 2-inches by by 2-inches by 8-inches. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough logs from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, slice each log into sixteen pieces. Place on prepared cookie sheets and bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.
- Serve with fresh fruit and sorbet, if you like.
- This recipe is closely adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.
- If you do not like the flavor of anise, leave it out and add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract to the recipe. Or, substitute another dried spice that is more to your liking, such as ground lavender or rosemary.
- Store in an airtight container if you do not plan to eat them all immediately. (Warning: you might not plan to eat them immediately, but these are known to disappear quickly! You might want to double the recipe.)
Note: My next post will appear the first week of July.