Something that I love about living in California is how many people have beautiful big citrus trees in their backyards. Growing up in New York, this is not something that I was used to before moving out here. But now, even I have citrus trees in my backyard! Granted, they're tiny 5 year old trees and I bought them from Costco for $15 each. I got about 10 limes and 10 lemons this year from them which got me through a good week or two of cocktails. Still, that's nothing compared to the hundreds and hundreds of fruits that my neighbors are getting off of their huge trees.
Hundreds of oranges, lemons or limes can be intimidating, even for the most avid non-Tropicana affiliated gardener, so frequently on my walks around the neighborhood, I see baskets or bags of fruit that people are giving away to try and lighten their loads. This week I had the great fortune to find a neighbor that was giving away tons of Meyer lemons - major score. Meyer lemons are more difficult to find in stores than regular yellow lemons, so this was a new fruit for me. They are a hybrid of lemons and tangerines, making them slightly orange in color and sweeter than your typical lemons. So basically, they're great for cooking, baking and eating raw. Needless to say... I took 40.
I've always loved to make rosemary shortbread cookies and I while I was walking my dog over the weekend, I was thinking of whipping up a batch when I got home. Then I stumbled upon these lemons and loaded up. By the time I got home, I started to think, I've never even touched a Meyer lemon before and now I have 40, what am I going to do with all these lemons besides compost them? As someone that works in the field of conservation, food waste is one of the things that I hate with a burning passion. Not wanting to fall in the trap of wasting these lemons, I decided to throw a couple into my cookie batch. That would leave only 38 lemons to figure out what to do with - score! Progress!
In addition to successfully using up 5% of my lemon stash, I also managed to make the. best. cookies. in. the. entire. world. I kid you not. Well, okay, actually, I'm obviously exaggerating. Of course, I haven't eaten every cookie in the world. But, these are honestly the best cookies that I've ever had, and I've eaten a lot of cookies in my time. They are exquisitely delicate, yet rich. The rosemary gives them a fresh and savory saltiness, the Meyer lemon gives them a springy flavor and the wildflower honey builds on that flavor with its warm floral taste. These go great with tea or coffee, like any classic shortbread cookie would, but they also taste great by themselves because again, they are just the best.
I don't want to build upon the food blogger tradition of talking for hours and hours before you finally get to the recipe, which is, after all, what you really want. So without further adieu, I give you my recipe for these baller and super easy to make cookies. As always, step by step photos are included in a slide show to guide you through the process.
Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Shortbread
3 Tbsp rosemary
Zest of two Meyer lemons (or a regular lemon if Meyers are unavailable to you)
1.5 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp wildflower honey
75 grams (3/4 cup) sugar, plus more for sprinkling at the end
360 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
340 grams (1.5 cups, aka 3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
1. Preheat oven to 350* F and line a 9" x 13" glass pan with parchment paper
2a. Toss all of your ingredients into a food processor and pulse until ingredients are just combined. The dough should not be a smooth and solid dough like most cookie doughs, you want it to still be crumbly like in the photos below.
2b. If you don't have a food processor, combine all ingredients in a bowl with a fork or pastry blender.
3. Press dough into the parchment paper lined pan until level and even throughout the pan.
4. Bake for 50 minutes or until the dough feels solid and the top is golden-brown.
5. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar, while still warm and fresh from the oven. If you do it after the dough has cooled, the sugar won't stick to the cookies(*gasp!*).
6. Let cool on a wire rack and cut the cookies after they have cooled for about 5-10 minutes.
7. Find out if you are in fact a superhero, by seeing if you're able to eat only one the first time you try these.
If you make these, let me know how it goes in the comments! And in the meantime, stay tuned for some more of my lemon adventures! I've got Limoncello and lemon meringue pie coming up, plus hopefully some other good stuff.