This is a variation on my lavender shortbread recipe, one of a series of floral and herbal shortbread cookies I’ve been experimenting with. Here, the star of the show is dried lemon verbena, an herb native to South America that was brought to Europe in the 17th or 18th century, and has been particularly popular in France. With its strong lemon scent, the plant is used in tea and perfumes, and to jazz up savory foods such as fish and poultry. The earthy, citrus flavor is a perfect match for these buttery treats.
Lemon Verbena Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Claire Robinson’s Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons dried lemon verbena
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in salt and lemon verbena (if the leaves and stems are too large, pulse a few times in a food processor before adding.) Mix in flour until dough comes together; be careful not to over-mix.
2. Flatten dough and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove dough from fridge and let soften slightly, while remaining cold enough to roll out.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (Or bake in two batches using one baking sheet.) Roll out dough until around 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies with a round, 2-inch cookie cutter; if using other shapes or sizes, adjust baking time accordingly.
4. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Bake for around 10 minutes, until edges and bottoms turn golden; the tops of the cookies should be fairly pale. (You may need to bake the cookies longer, depending on your oven and the size of the cookies.)
5. Let cool on baking sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yields around 33 cookies