Season Stepp: For the love of ‘Outlander’
For those great fans of literature who will be watching the season premiere of “Outlander” this weekend on Starz, please accept this tiny tribute to Claire and Jamie.
When thinking of recipes to represent the original book series, several things came to mind: porridge? Nah, that’s just oatmeal. Rabbit stew? That makes me sad. Haggis? I’m no fan of offals. Instead I opted to supply a recipe you may actually try at home: Scottish shortbread featuring garden herbs (pardon the lavender).
The timing is just right as April 6 (today) is National Tartan Day. Don your plaid and frolic amongst the heather. Je Suis Prest.
Lavender Rosemary Shortbread
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus more for finishing
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary needles, finely minced
2 teaspoons lavender flowers, pulverized (see note)
1 lemon or orange, zested and juiced
Using a stand mixer or electric mixer, beat together butter, sugars, salt, zest, juice, rosemary and lavender until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour and mix on low speed until the flour is moistened and the dough has just come together. Do not over mix.
Dump dough onto plastic wrap and shape into a rectangle about ½-inch thick. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer dough to the baking sheet. Use floured hands to ensure the dough is of even thickness.
Using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, cut the dough into squares, then lightly score the squares on the diagonal into triangles. Sprinkle with more granulated sugar, and press slightly to adhere the sugar.
Bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes; transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Snap along the scored lines to make triangle cookies. Serve with hot tea or a bit of brandy.
Shortbread Variations: Replace thyme and/or orange/lemon with other herbs and flavorings such as sage, mint or very finely minced rosemary leaves and lemon, cardamom or vanilla.
Note: The little purple flowers of lavender can be found in specialty food stores or spice shops. Use only food-grade lavender, not that meant for potpourri. Crush the flowers with a mortar and pestle or pulse in a blender to desired fineness.
— Season Stepp writes about food for The Spartanburg Herald-Journal in South Carolina.