4 to 6 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
1 cup dry sherry or apple juice
1 cup honey
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. grated ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Do not boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until apples are just tender. Remove from the heat and chill in the liquid. Serves 4 to 6.
Lemon Drop Cookies
1/2 cup butter -- softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon half and half
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely crushed lemon drops
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, half-and-half and lemon rind. Combine flour, lemon drops, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 3" apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
4 tablespoon fresh lavender, or 2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup sugar
2 cup all-purpose flour
Fifteen minutes before you begin the dough, remove the butter from the refrigerator. *Place the lavender buds in a clean spice mill with 1/4 cup of the sugar and grind until fine. If you don't have a spice mill, grind the lavender with all the sugar in a blender or small food processor.
Mixing the dough: Transfer the lavender sugar to the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a paddle and add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar if you used a spice mill and the butter. Beat on low speed until the mixture is s smooth and there are no detectable lumps of butter when you roll a teaspoon of it between your fingers; do not beat it until it is fluffy. Add all the flour at once and continue to mix on low speed just until it forms a cohesive dough.
Rolling and cutting: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, press it firmly into a smooth rectangular block with no cracks, and dust it lightly with more flour. Using a rolling pin, roll it into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick, rotating the dough a quarter turn each time you roll to make sure it is not sticking to the work surface. You an also roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using a straight edge and a pastry wheel or chef's knife, cut the dough into 3 x 1-1/2 inch bars, or cut out other shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving 1/2-inch space between them.
Refrigerate the cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking to allow the dough to rest. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the cookies until they are colored lightly like sand, not browned, 22 to 25 minutes. Lift one with a small spatula to check the color of the underside; it should be just a shade darker on the top. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan (they are soft while they are hot). Stack the cooled cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to a week.
~~ Mixing variation: If you don't have a heavy-duty electric mixer, you can mix the dough in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, but you'll need to start with butter that is at room temperature.
Mix the butter with the lavender sugar until completely smooth, and then stir in the flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour before rolling.
~~Herb substitutions: In place of the lavender, add 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, thyme or lemon thyme to the butter and sugar.
~~ Spice substitutions: Substitute for the lavender 2 teaspoons dried fennel or anise seeds, or 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom seeds, grinding the seeds with the sugar as directed.
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix shortening, sugar, eggs and rosewater until fluffy. Stir flour and salt together, then mix in butter mixture. Dough will be soft. Chill several hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 1/3 of dough at time (keep rest of dough refrigerated) roll into balls about 3/4 inch in diameter. Place on cookie sheets. Flatten with hand until approximately half of original thickness. Imagine the flattened cookie to be a clock, Make 2 slits, each 1/2 inch long in cookie at 10:00 and at 2:00. Pinch bottom to form "base" of petal. Sprinkle with red or pink decorator's sugar. Bake at 350* for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom. Do NOT brown tops of cookies!
MIX flour, lemon verbena, baking powder and salt and set aside. BEAT butter until very creamy. ADD sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gradually ADD flour mixture. DROP by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. BAKE at 350 degrees F. for eight to ten minutes.