Test Kitchen: Rosemary Salted Shortbread

The idea of cooking blog as game of telephone is on my mind today. One person takes a recipe, blogs about it, it goes out into the universe to be altered and edited by someone else, who blogs about it. And down the line it goes. 

I’ve been thinking about the rosemary olive oil cake over at 101 Cookbooks (oh, the life crush I have on Heidi…). I’m not super sure how I got here from there but the world of baking with rosemary was one I wanted to dig into.

 

A few years back I began really noticing salt in chocolate chip cookies. Not in a bad way, at all, but more a “Huh, I never thought about how critical this salty goodness was to my enjoyment of this tremendous cookie”.

Somehow those to thing met in my head, shook hands, and here we are.

With the impending 1st birthday I wanted an excuse to make the citrus salts from 101 Cookbooks as favors, putting the approximately ten million 4 oz baby food jars I saved to use. I’ll explore that process in a few days. And then, because I can’t help myself, I wanted to offer something baked as well.

And thus, the Test Kitchen for salted rosemary shortbread. I found two recipes I wanted to try out. One from Rustic Kitchen. One from The Fromagette.

Rustic Kitchen calls for coarse sea salt and an 8″ pan. I set to it. I must say, baking with rosemary is glorious. It is an aromatic dream and looks purty too. The savorier side of baking is one I’m learning to love as I emerge from whatever place of one’s youth requires sugar-caked teeth as evidence of a snack.

The single most challenging piece for me with Rustic Kitchen’s approach was figuring out how to get 16 triangles. I stared at that 8″ pan for a good couple minutes worried the freshly baked dough was going to get hard.

And then whatever teeeeeny bit of geometry was left in my left brain went to work. Quartered it, then quartered the quarters diagonally. Phew.

The sprinkled salt and rosemary on top were powerful, but in a lovely way.

Next up was The Fromagette.
She called for artisan sea salt and used salted butter but no other salt in the recipe. I was nervous because A) I had only recently made the realization to bake with unsalted butter and B) No salt anywhere else? Egads.

Her recommendation was Trader Joe’s Pink Himalayan salt so I ran right down to TJ’s and picked some up. I do so enjoy a self-grinder.

The artisan salt is just sprinkled on top. “Generous” sent me into paroxysms of anxiety that I’d somehow undersalt or oversalt these pretty little beasts. 

And voila.

 

Luckily, a group of OP villagers were gathering to discuss all things village-y so I brought my cookies along (And the baby. Very accommodating villagers) for a taste test. The verdict was a pretty split. Husband picked the Rustic Kitchen as did another fellow. Three women preferred the Fromagette. I opted to go Fromagette because I am a pretty-salt whore and because they were slightly more delicate (the coarse sea salt perhaps?). But Rustic Kitchen, we’ll be back.

So a salty first birthday favor was set. I couldn’t really think of a good thematic reason to hand ‘em out. “Celebrate Our Salty Daughter” perhaps.

The batch I prepped for the party were a wee bit too salty as I got a bit over-eager making them sparkly pink on top, but they looked good!


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