Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

It’s about time we talked about basil.

Until circa 2009, I rarely bought fresh basil. I had dried basil in my cupboard, and it lasted longer than fresh, so I figured it made more sense. Then, in the summer of 2009 my then-roommate and I split a community-supported agriculture (CSA) share. In those boxes we’d get these beautiful, fresh, huge batches of basil. The best pizza I’ve ever made included local heirloom tomatoes (which I used to make both sauce and toppings), fresh mozzarella, and large leafs of local basil.

I’ve been hooked ever since.

Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

Basil is a big part of my life these days, both in the kitchen and out. Last Spring Ryan started a hydroponic farm so he could supply local co-ops with fresh produce year-round. Currently he’s mostly producing basil, which works out wonderfully if you’re me and want basil on all the things.

If you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere warm, you may think that fresh, local basil year-round is no big thang. In Minnesota, where humans barely survive the winter, finding a way to successfully grow and sustain large crops in -20 degree weather is no small feat.

I’m fortunate to know a basil guy. I have an “in” with local produce, and it’s fabulous.

Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

We regularly put Ryan’s basil (the best damn basil in town, I believe) on pizzas, in sandwiches, in pasta sauces, or blended up into pesto. To switch things up, I decided it was high time I put some basil in my cookies.

I know basil cookies may sound a bit strange to some of you, but hear me out. These cookies are buttery, light, crisp, and have a splash of lemon flavor. Although I usually feel a bit “meh” about shortbread, the lemon and basil make for one flavorful, bright little treat that just meeeeelts in your mouth.

Butter, guys. It’s all about the butter and the basil.

Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

The simple lemon glaze comes together quickly, but an even quicker option would be to just sift a little powdered sugar on top of the cooled cookies. The sprinkle of white will add a little pretty flair.

These cookies feel fancy because of their shape, luxurious texture, and the fact that they include an herb (duh). If you’re refined, maybe you’ll eat them leisurely while sipping black tea. If you’re me, maybe you’ll eat them straight from the plastic tupperware while cleaning up your stressfully-dirty kitchen.

Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

At least my cookies have class.
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Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

It’s been a while since my body told me, definitively, that I need to slow down and take a breath. I finally reached that point last Wednesday.

In the midst of a comically stressful week, my body succumbed to one of the worst colds I’ve ever had. It felt as though I had been hit by the sickness bus. My head hurt, my back hurt, my body ached, my nose itched, and my sneezes were so intense that I saw my dog’s entire body jump with each expulsion, as though levitating from the energy coming from my mouth.

Every moment I spent vertically made me feel worse. My body forced me to slow down, sleep a ton, and finally watch Frozen. Totally worth all the hype, by the way.

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

When I felt well enough to move like a normal human, I decided to bake cookies for myself. Most of my baked goods are made with others in mind. I always know I’ll enjoy them as well, but my main thought when baking will be, “My family will love these,” or “I can bring these to work/my friend’s house” etc. This time I made cookies just for me, specifically to my tastes and food preferences. Sure, I’ve shared with friends and family when they’ve been around, but this particular batch of cookies has made its home in my little glass cake stand on my kitchen counter, and is primarily being consumed by yours truly. These cookies make me happy.

It was a small step in self nurture, which is something I’ve kind of been lacking lately. I have no qualms about making myself feel better with food. It is what it is, and it’s pretty tasty.

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

These cookies are made without refined flour or sugar, but they’re also made with a hefty amount of brown butter and dark chocolate. Since I’m a bit of a whole foods advocate, but also a brown butter and chocolate advocate, all of these ingredients seemed appropriate.

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

I used spelt flour, because I love its subtle nutty flavor, but you can definitely swap whole wheat pastry flour, or unbleached all purpose (if you’re not concerned with the “whole grain” thing). Almond meal adds moistness and a light almond flavor to the dough, while old-fashioned oats bring a bit of texture. If you don’t have sucanat (dried sugar cane) on hand, I suspect you could swap it with brown sugar, since the flavor is very similar.

These cookies are thick, chewy, and stay soft for days. I like heating them up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before devouring, because melted chocolate chips make life better.

Whole Grain Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies | Veggie and the Beast

Take care of yourself. Make some cookies.
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