A few years back I found a tiny packet of ‘edible flowers’ at a whole foods near me. I thought they’d likely make an otherwise boring semolina cake I was making later that day quite beautiful (they did!).
I never saw them at that whole foods, or any whole foods again although I kept looking. But this past weekend we ended up at a farm in maryland for pumpkin picking (along with lots of caterpillar finding and holding, much to my little one’s delight!) and in the farm store they were selling packets for $2.50 each…. yippie! I don’t know how often they have them, but I do know that I probably won’t get these more than a couple times a year given how far the farm is from us, so I knew that whatever I made with them had better be fantastic.
I really wanted to make something special for someone special, a dear friend who just got a job after looking for quite some time. I went online looking for ideas and saw this buzzfeed article and knew the cookies would be perfect for her (she LOVES shortbreads). I found my own shortbread recipe was too delicate as it bakes longer, so it wasn’t suitable for the flowers so I did some digging to find out how Stern makes hers, and found this video to guide me through the process. Here’s everything listed and written for you, and I’d watch the video so you can see it done before you get started. Happy flower cookie making!
Flower Shortbread Cookies
from Laura Stern
4 cups flour
3 egg yolks
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 sticks butter, at room temperatur
2 teaspoons salt
edible flowers (found at local farms, farmer’s markets)
extra sugar for sprinkling
Prepare two cookie sheets, one with two layers of parchment paper and another with just one layer.
In a large bowl beat together the yolks, sugar, salt, vanilla and butter. Sift the flour and gently stir it into the dough until it forms a soft ball.
Sandwich the dough on the cookie sheet in between the two pieces of parchment and roll to about 1/2 inch thickness. Remove top parchment layer.
Using a cookie cutter (you can use anything but I went with round which makes the later steps easier, you’ll see why in a min) cut out shapes. This step is mostly as a guide to where to place your flowers.
Place flowers into circle shapes and place parchment layer back on and gently roll over dough again to press the flowers into the cookies.
Place cookie sheet (with parchment layer on top) in fridge for 20 minutes (this is important!!)
Preheat oven to 360. Grab your cookie sheet lined with one parchment piece, this is the one that’s going in the oven.
Remove dough from fridge and once again, use your cookie cutter to punch out circle shapes around the flowers - trying to keep them where they were so you don’t get double lines. As you cut them out they may stick to your cutter, that’s fine! This saves you the step of lifting them with an offset spatula and you can gently press them from the top onto the second cookie sheet. If they don’t, remove dough scraps and lift the cookies with an offset spatula and place them on your prepared cookie sheet - leaving space between each cookie. Sprinkle cookies with granulated sugar.
Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating your cookie sheet after 6 minutes, until edges are just golden.
Repeat steps as necessary until cookie dough scraps are all used up.