If a plant is inside my house, it’s days are numbered. I come on strong: “I love this new plant. I’m going to remember to water it and turn it and dust it and stuff.” A month later, the plant is dead, untouched, sitting there like an accusatory jerk.
Outdoors, though, I do much better. Maybe I’m only interested in plants I can eat. That’s certainly a good theory. I’ve managed to keep a certain lemon verbena plant, Lennie (named after Lennie Briscoe,) happy for 5 years now, mostly living outside with a few stops at my mom’s house during some harsh winter months. I have so much of the stuff I end up putting it in everything – roast chicken, tabouleh, ice cubes, and various cocktails, but in all my time with this plant, I hadn’t baked it into a cookie.
Consider that situation rectified. This shortbread cookie recipe, adapted from Martha herself, is foolproof and easily adaptable. Put stuff in it; dip it in stuff. Go nuts, it’s a solid recipe. I made a big batch and baked off half of the dough, reserving the other half, tightly double-wrapped in plastico, until my next cookie craving.
Lemon Verbena Shortbread Cookies
1 cup Butter
3/4 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Lemon Verbena, finely chopped
Sift Flour and salt together, and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Add vanilla. Gradually sift in flour and salt. Add lemon verbena, and mix to combine.
Refrigerate dough for 2 to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to bake off your cookies, take the dough out of the fridge, and leave on the counter for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a half sheet tray with parchment paper.
Roll out dough to about an 1/8 of an inch thick, and cut out however you want. I used a biscuit cutter for most of my cookies, but also made a few “Shortbread Dudes” because they’re very charming.
Place cookies about an inch apart on the parchment paper, and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Or don’t.