Friday, July 6, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Salted Lemon Rosemary Shortbread

It is the first Friday of the month and that means ... another delicious recipe ... another delicious vegan recipe. Why vegan? Because meatless meals are good for the planet.

I'm so excited about our guest chef this month!! Please meet Kelly, the fabulous author & chef of Kelly Bakes. When you visit Kelly's blog (and I hope that you do), you may notice her tag line: "one girl. one blog. one dream. one
unending supply of butter." Butter? What's a girl who shocks her readers by saying that her middle name isn't “Bacon” doing here on Reduce Footprints? Well, Kelly has recently been experimenting with vegan baking ... she's been thrilling her readers with some delicious offerings like Vegan chocolate peanut butter banana tarts, Accidentally vegan blackberry breakfast bars and Vegan Pear Tart with Apricot Jam. Since she isn't vegan, I find Kelly's "take" on things very refreshing. One of my favorite things about Kelly's blog is her writing. Well ... here ... read what she has to say and you'll see what I mean ... she's brilliant!


Some of life’s greatest rewards come from pushing yourself just beyond your realm of comfort into the unknown, uncertain and uncomfortable.

In 2009, I packed up the bare essentials and moved four states away from my family in Connecticut to pursue my dream of getting a Master’s degree in English Literature. The subject had always been easy for me, as writing and reading were things I did well without even thinking much about them. I loved lit. It came naturally. End of story.

When I got to grad school, however, the romance was over. I fell out of love with English after a week. Classes were nothing like what I experienced in undergrad and I suddenly found myself four hours from home, living by myself for the first time, knowing no one and wondering if I had made the biggest mistake of my life.

I could have easily packed up my things and called it quits [after all, I had packed so lightly that, when I moved in, my mom & sister unpacked my apartment in the time it took to return the UHaul truck]. I don’t remember what made me stay, exactly, but I’m certainly glad. Pushing through my insecurities about grad school, the stress of advising 50 nervous college freshmen, and the anxiety about my future was one of the toughest emotional feats I’ve had to face in my short life. As I found myself at the end of it all, I not only had a diploma in my hand and a job as an Academic Advisor [who whudda thunk it?], but I had a strange itch to push myself past the point of comfort.

These cookies reflect that same spirit. I had never made shortbread, baked with herbs or attempted vegan baking until a few months ago. I have an almost debilitating dependence on non-organic white sugar, eggs and butter, the trinity of vegan no-no’s. Amazingly, once I made shortbread for the first time (a non-vegan version of these guys, in fact), I realized just how easy it was to adapt to an animal-free version without any compromise in taste.

I love the combination of flavors in the finished shortbread. Even with the vegan shortening, they still have the buttery flavor and slightly-crisp, yet still soft texture of traditional shortbread. The lemon adds a delicate tartness, the rosemary hints at savory but the sugar reminds eaters that they’re eating dessert. Finally, the tiny flecks of pink salt add a saline pop that transforms the flavor profile, adding depth and an exciting finish to each bite.

The next time you need an easy snack for a potluck or you’re craving simple, clean flavors, grab a lemon and some rosemary and prepare to bake! Warning, these are highly addictive, but they make plenty, so unless you want to eat ALL the shortbread, I would strongly suggest sharing!

Salted Lemon Rosemary Shortbread:
(adapted from this recipe: http://thefromagette.com/blog/2011/10/23/salted-rosemary-shortbread)

Ingredients:

3/4 lb {3 sticks} unsalted vegan shortening spread (such as Earth Balance), room temperature
3/4 cup organic white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 T minced fresh rosemary
rind of 1 medium lemon, grated
1/2 tsp artisan salt, plus more for tops of the cookies {I use Trader Joe's pink Himalayan}

Makes 2 dozen.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350. With an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar. In separate bowl, mix flour, salt, lemon zest and rosemary together, making sure the rosemary and zest are evenly dispersed throughout the flour. Add flour mixture into to the butter mixture on low speed, just until the dough starts to come together.

Cut dough in half, flatten each half into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface {or between 2 pieces of plastic wrap} to a nice chunky 1/2 inch thick, and cut into the shape of your choosing using a metal cookie cutter {I like squiggly squares or hearts but they'd be pretty in shapes for birthdays and holidays too. Get creative!}.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment, allowing 1 inch between each cookie. Sprinkle generously with artisan salt and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges are just barely golden. [Cooking time will vary depending on the size and shape of your cookie cutters. When I make 2” squares, they bake for at least 20 minutes.]

Cool to room temperature and store in airtight container.

Happy Baking!

Xoxo,
kellybakes

Kelly is a 27 year old with a day job, dreaming of pastry school and the day she can finally say goodbye to Sallie Mae. Originally hailing from New England, she loves crisp autumn days, fall foliage and baking her way through blizzards. In 2009, she packed up her rolling pin and KitchenAid mixer, kissing Connecticut goodbye to move to the Philadelphia area. She may not say “wudder” or go “down the shore,” but she loves exploring Philly’s vibrant food scene, whether it be strolling through farmers markets, venturing to ethnic restaurants in different neighborhoods, or making friends with food truck owners. She lives on a tree-lined street with a sometimes-vegan roommate and a cat named Mascarpone.

Thanks so much for coming by, Kelly!!

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.



6 comments :

  1. Oh I will definitely have to try these because they sound so delicious. I admire you for making such a bold move and accomplishing all you have!!!!

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  2. I'm a fan of any lemon-flavored pastries, so these sound perfect! And adding salt makes them even better. :)

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  3. @Alicia - They're truly addicting. I originally made them with butter, but I think I like the vegan version even better! Thank you so much! It's certainly been an adventure, but I'm glad to have been pushed beyond my comfort zone--it's resulted in some amazing experiences (and amazing food!)

    @Kiersten - I've made them without the salt and they're just not the same. (Still tasty, just without that extra pop at the end that makes them special.

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  4. I have a rosemary plant, so I definitely want to try this recipe sometime soon.

    Question - do you think I could use Palm Oil Shortening instead of Earth Balance? Or some type of oil?

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  5. Shortbread is always sure to please. So easy to make, with just a little planning, and when you bring it to a party, people can't believe how good it is. Store-bought cookies just can't compare!

    Thanks for the recipe - it's so helpful to see other people's ideas for varations!

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  6. @All Natural Katie - Hi! I'm new to most vegan baking, so I consulted a professional vegan pastry chef who said to try subbing out the Palm Oil shortening in equal ratio or 3/4 oil for every cup of Earth Balance. I'm not sure how the latter would work out, as it'd be going from solid to liquid, but it's worth a try! The other thing to consider is that EB gives a buttery flavor, so you may want to add more lemon zest & rosemary to compensate if the flavor tastes on the bland side. Let us know how your substitutions come out! p.s. I used rosemary from my garden to make these! :)

    @rewinn The first time I made it, I couldn't believe how simple it was to make (for some reason, I thought it involved eggs...). I kicked myself for not making it sooner! I'm glad you enjoyed and hope you'll give it a try! Happy Baking!

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