Pink Lemonade Bar Cookies

Gathering the supplies to bake something in my kitchen is always an Adventure. If it had a name (and Adventures usually do), it would be something like “The Continuing Adventures of Foodicus Moldicus, or This Is Why I Can’t Have Nice Things During Summertime“.  I’ll buy fruit on Tuesday with the intention of making it into something tasty on Friday. By Thursday, it belongs to the mould.

I made bread two days ago. It’s the mould’s now.

What I am saying is, my kitchen needs a good scrub down with vinegar to kill whatever invisible mould keeps on eating my food before I can, and groceries like that need to be almost immediately used.

So I’ve been going on to my friends for weeks at this point about these Pink Lemonade Bars. About how good they look, and how I can imagine them in my mouth being delicious and how if I can not eat these I will die. And at almost every turn I am thwarted by buying groceries and then not getting to the baking part quick enough so my lemons and my raspberries end up in the trash.

But these lemon bars, they look like the most delicious thing on the planet, and before I go further, I should furnish you with two lists. Here is a short list of things I like to eat:

  1. Lemons
  2. Lemonade
  3. Raspberry/Strawberry/etc lemonade

And now a short list of things I do not like to eat:

  1. Lemon cookies
  2. Lemon bars
  3. Lemon-scented Pledge

But by god these bars looked amazing and I have to make them. So off to the grocery store it is, and I will report back in a couple months when I’ve finally remembered to make them!

Soup it to Me

Fall CSA share pickup was on Thursday! Even though this is my first fall share, I’ve determined that I fucking love them more than the summer ones.  Fall means root crops means potatoes and rutabagas and turnips and carrots meansSOUP.

I love soup. For the record.

I found a hearty root vegetable soup recipe at Epicurious and basically doubled it because I figured I had about double the amount of potato-rutabaga-turnip-carrot it called for. (I was incorrect about that, but whatever.)  Then I followed my own soup making method with their ingredients and made approximately a million quarts of soup.

A large stock pot full of orange-ish puréed soup-like liquid.

I like to call my method, “Chuck everything in a pot, cook until soft, purée the fuck out of it, eat.” It’s quite effective. And probably how you make baby food.

Then I realized I don’t like the taste of rutabagas or turnips. Whoops.  So, this soup is going to undergo severe changes before I actually eat it, including adding a shitload of cream and cheese to make something deliciously rich and hearty and also not tasting of turnip. Or rutabaga.

In case that picture above is not clear, that is a lot of soup. Way more than I could ever eat, so I immediately got out the pressure canner and started filling jars.  I went out briefly to grab another box of jars, and came back to find this:

A small grey kitten peering over the edge of a large pressure canner in a vaguely menacing way.

This is how she watches me, constantly, when I’m cooking. She just sits there. And stares. Over the edge. I’m kind of concerned she’s picturing how she’d cook me.

That is right. Ragnarök decided she was going to help me can things! Like a helpful cat in that way only cats and small children can be! I kept filling and hoping that she would get out on her own

A small grey and cream tabby kitten sitting in a large pressure canner with five pint jars in a circle on the edges staring at the camera. The kitten is staring, not the pint jars.

This kitten has no self preservation instincts whatsoever.

to no avail. That cat loves sitting in the pressure canner while I’m working in the kitchen, and apparently doesn’t  believe that “there are cans of soup on top of me” is a reason to vacate the premises. Although, to be fair, she probably couldn’t get out at that point, so I picked her up and moved her, but still, the internet.

But still.

So that is my adventure in soup making yesterday. Today: I feast!

Kick-Ass Lavender Shortbread Cookies

It’s not often that I find myself wishing that I had smell-o-vision that I could broadcast to the world — my house more often smells of animals and old-man-soup1 than it does delicious things — but right now, if you could smell my kitchen…

I have an herb share with my CSA, and the other week it included cut lavender. Obviously, my first thought was “What the hell am I supposed to make with lavender is this even edible are they secretly trying to poison me oh god it’s a conspiracy!”

Then I came back down to earth and hit up the google machine, and found this recipe on Serious Eats for lavender shortbread cookies.  Which is approximately my favoritest type of cookie in the world. (The shortbread part, not the lavender part.)  So I put out a stick of butter yesterday — because surely six ounces of butter is about half a cup! — and then immediately got distracted doing the mountain of dishes that needed doing and forgot all about it until this morning.  Thank the gods I left the butter right next to the fridge, right?  Because fridges can work by osmosis, right?

(No.)

Suffice to say, after a shower and a battle with my stand mixer, because it is heavy and I pulled every muscle in my upper body kayaking yesterday, I got to work making those cookies.  With lots of modifications because it turns out that half a cup of butter is not, in fact, six ounces (more like four) and why bother with powdered sugar when there’s honey in it anyway, and man do I even have cornstarch any more?

This, my friends, is my modified lavender shortbread cookie recipe.  They turn out just dry enough to be dipping cookies, because of the butter shortage.  The wick up just enough moisture to become soft and delicious, but not so much that they’re gross and soggy like most cookies. In fact, I would not even think about eating these without dipping them in something first, I am just saying.  I can verify that they’re delicious in hot chocolate, and have heard good things from coworkers about coffee.

I’ve not included yield because I have never found yields to be all that accurate, given how you have to obviously taste test the dough before turning it into cookies, and then taste test it again to make sure the first taste test wasn’t a fluke, and sometimes you want to make huge cookies and sometimes small cookies and and and

Kick-Ass Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Prep Time:

It took me 10 minutes to make the dough, because I was an idiot when I set the lavender to dry the other week and did not bother to take the… seeds? flowers? The lavender-y parts off the stem, so I had to do that. If you are smart, this is seriously something like a five minute recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter
  • 1/4 c delicious honey
  • 1/4 tsp arrowroot powder/cornstarch/thickening agent2
  • 1 Tbsp lavender3
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 c flour
  • water
Directions:
  1. Cream together the butter, honey, and thickening agent
  2. Add the lavender, salt, and baking powder
  3. Add the flour
  4. If it’s all flaky and not coming together in a nice ball of dough, add water until it does
  5. Put it on plastic wrap, roll it into a cylinder and roll it up in the plastic wrap
  6. Refrigerate until it’s something you can cut4
  7. Preheat your oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  If you do not have parchment paper you are a sad, sad person and why are you even trying to make cookies? But I guess buttering the baking sheet would work too.
  8. Bake until done. The original recipe says 8 minutes. Mine took closer to 15, possibly because my gas oven is a thousand years old and I haven’t put a thermometer in there yet so I don’t know if the dial is accurate.
  9. Make some hot chocolate or coffee or get out a glass of milk.
  10. Dip and enjoy!
A field of purple lavender flowers.

Image by Mimova on Wikipedia.
Also can you image having to get all of the seed bits off that field by hand? D:

1 I had it at work one day, and one of my co-workers wandered into the kitchen and immediately went “Ew, what smells like old man?” Answer: Celery, an onion, and a lot of random vegetables cooked in just enough water to cover them and then puréed into a thick liquid. return

2 Let’s get some kitchen SCIENCE! all up in here! Substituting honey for sugar is wicked easy, most of the time. Take however much sugar you’re using (in this case, it was 1/2c) and divide it by four to get how much honey to use. Since 1/8c is the same as 2 Tbsp, I added the honey amounts together and added a quarter of a cup. There is your long winded explanation on how to do basic math. As for the thickening agent, commercial powdered sugar (which this recipe called for) has cornstarch in it. I have no idea why, but I’m sure it’s for a good reason. It’s a ratio of about 1 Tbsp to 1 cup, or 1:16, which is a terrifying-looking ratio when I think about trying to make it into real measurements. Since this called for 1/2c of powdered sugar, it needed 1 1/2tsp of cornstarch (or its equivalent since I don’t ever use cornstarch ever). Why then does the recipe only call for 1/4tsp? Because I am bad at math, that is why, and it came out fine anyway, so who cares stop asking questions. return

3 AKA 3tsp, for those of us who keep losing our tablespoons out of our measuring spoons no matter how many times we swear we are going to put it right back where it belongs after using it and not lose this one no really we mean it this time. return

4 I have no idea how long this actually takes beyond what the original recipe says, because I forgot I was making cookies until the next morning. Yes, this is an on-going theme in my life. return