Right now in Seattle it’s been glorious. The sun has been present most of the last few days, the clouds are puffy and reveal a bright blue behind them, and the temperatures have nearly reached the seventies. The trees are putting on crimson robes and the night air has a bite to it. This time of year, the (hopefully) long and lazy to grey days, pulls me in two food directions. In one direction is the overflowing cornucopia of harvest, the sweet fruits and vegetables that hardly need cooking or adornment. In the other direction is the food of Carbohydrates and Fats. I think my inner European awakens, notices the slight chill, and demands to put on a “winter layer”.
In order to appease this craving, today I made up a cookie recipe I’ve dubbed Scandinavian Shortbread. Shortbread is a cookie made with the typical sugar, butter, and flour, but without any leaveners like baking soda or powder and typically also without egg. Shortbread at it’s best is crunchy at the edges, tender in the middle, and slightly crumbly throughout. This shortbread has flavors of anise, cardamom, and honey. There’s also a nice grain flavor from the whole wheat and rye flours.
1/3 c sugar
2 T honey
2/3 c unsalted butter, softened
1/2 t anise seeds
1/3 t ground cardamom
1 c all purpose flour
1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c rye flour
1/2 t salt
Preheat the oven to 350˚. In a bowl, cream together the sugar, honey, and butter until fluffy and smooth, about five minutes with an electric mixer, scraping the bowl every few minutes. Beat in the spices, about 1 minutes. Add the flours gradually and mix the dough until smooth and uniform, a minute or two more.
Using a cookie scoop or two spoons, scoop 1″ diameter balls onto a parchment-lined or greased cookie sheet. Use a fork to make cross-hatch marks on each ball, pressing down slightly as you do so. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until golden brown. Let cool on the sheet.
Makes about 24. Keep in a sealed container up to two weeks.
Accompaniment: Eat these with a jar of lingonberry jam in an IKEA parking lot, or with a cup of chamomile tea in the evening.