Tuesday, June 7, 2011

lemon basil cookies

While it seems like she has baked these since the beginning of time, I think that my mom only started making these cookies about six or seven years ago, when she found the recipe in one of her Southern Living magazines.  That must have been about 2004.  She had a big basil garden then and I think she still does - purple basil, lemon basil, all sorts of basil planted around a big mill stone that came from a heap of stones (an old mill) on Shoal Creek, which runs across our property in Sharpsburg, and empties into the Flint River that empties into the Chattahoochee and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.  Maybe not far from Ms. Elspeth's house!
  I always think of these as summer cookies not just because of all the basil, but because my mom used to make huge (I'm talking 3-or-4-freezer-bags-full-huge) batches of these and stick them in the freezer in the laundry room, and on a hot day you could sneak a couple of cold ones out when no one was looking, and they were so refreshing and delicious.  But like all good things that come from an oven, I think they're best fresh.  So here it is, plain and simple:

a bunch of basil leaves
1 cup sugar
1/2 lb butter
lemon juice from one lemon
lemon zest
1 egg
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350.
Pulse basil and 1/4 cup sugar in a blender or food processor (or just chop up the basil finely and mash it with the sugar).  Beat the butter til it's creamy, then add the remaining sugar to the butter and mix until well blended.  Add the lemon juice and the egg and beat well.  Add the flour and basil/sugar mix.  Stir together.  Spoon onto a sheet and bake away til they're done.   If you're going to a tea party or baking them for your grandmother's DAR meeting, then it's worth noting that these cookies look particularly delectable delicate if you smooth them into nice round balls after you spoon them onto the baking sheet.  If you don't care too much about smooth-looking cookies, then forget that step and just slap the dough onto the tray and stick em in the oven.

I'll bet these would be great with some other spices, too, although I've not experimented with them yet.



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