Folks, let’s be honest – it’s all but summer time here, it’s the end of the semester, and any excitement I might have had about school has long-since been tempered by days in the eighties, too much sunshine, and the possibility of baked goods. After a certain point, there’s just nothing to be done but watch a whole season of Friday Night Lights and spend the whole weekend baking. It’s totally possible that I should have been writing not one but two papers this weekend, and got incredibly side-tracked instead.
This is because I like to bake for holidays (well, for every day, honestly, so more specifically I like to bake and send things home to my family for holidays). It’s almost Easter, and while we are one of the least religiously reverent families I’ve ever met, we celebrate in the spirit of “Welcome Spring!” and “my mother was raised by a woman whose father was a pastor”. It’s a nice tradition, and one that I’ve always enjoyed celebrating with them. Because Easter is one of those holidays that’s all over the map, timewise, sometimes I’m home, and sometimes I’m not. I’m not this year, and while I’m disappointed, I figured it would be nice to make up for it by baking something tasty.
And then I settled down to the conundrum of: it’s already hot enough here that it’s getting to be a challenge to send things in the mail, but it’s only just spring there. And: what is a good spring dessert? And: what fits all of these billets?! So I got to searching. I thought about cupcakes, cakes in a jar, blondies, and so on, but these cookies seemed so full of spring goodness. Light and fluffy, with the first hints of the summer ahead, they make a pretty excellent foray into spring baking. And paired with a nice vanilla buttercream, they make the cutest sandwich cookies.
While these cookies sort of violate my inherent principle of “dessert should be chocolate or I’m not interested” (which, talk about silly), they are light, tangy, and just the tiniest hint sweet. I may have eaten several when I came home from class today.
Lemon-Basil Sandwich Cookies (Adapted, loosely, from Martha Stewart)
Makes thirty individual cookies, or fifteen sandwiches
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, scraped out
1 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine basil, lemon zest, flours, and baking soda. Whisk together until flour coats basil and zest. In the bowl of a mixer, beat together butter and powdered sugar. Scrape down the sides and mix in vanilla and egg yolk. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Using a teaspoon measure, drop rounded balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes, checking to make sure they don’t burn.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, vanilla bean, and milk. Beat until combined and light and fluffy in texture. Once the cookies are cooked and cooled (I waited overnight, although several hours would suffice), spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with your preferred tip. Pipe onto one cookie, and cover with a second. If, as has been happening here, your frosting gets too warm, place it in the refrigerator for several minutes, or until it firms up.
(Helper dog is helpful, in between trying to steal sandwich cookies).