As I walk throughout my neighborhood I am surrounded by an abundance of flowers springing up everywhere. Among all of this there are Sweet Peas and huge Rosemary Bushes multiplying overnight. Sweet Peas are growing along the busy road sides, out of rock walls and everywhere you turn. Some of the rosemary bushes I see feel as though they have doubled in size overnight. They are so beautiful and sway in the breeze bringing a beautiful smell that I wish I could bottle. All of this brings up so many memories as I see and smell them.
You may not know but several years ago I was searching for a name for my bakery and I felt so lost. I already had a menu of sweets in mind, but could not settle on a name. I asked others for help but still nothing was satisfying. I came across someone carrying Sweet Pea Blossoms. They were so delicate, dainty, and smelled beautifully. She told me that she grew them in her garden. So I went home to see how feasible it would be to grow them in my own yard. (You have to remember that this is when I lived in Phoenix. It is really hard to grow much of anything in the dessert unless you dedicate a lot of time to it!) In my research it said that a Sweet Pea blossoms are to be described as a casual splendor, accompanied by subtle aromas. A light bulb went off; I had a name for my bakery: The Sweet Pea. And believe it or not I always made a Rosemary Shortbread that I was planning on having on the menu. So you can see how this time of year as I walk around I am reminded of all that went on not too long ago.
About six years later at the time of closing my bakery, my husband and I were dealing with so much stress. Besides the closing of our business and the failing economy in Phoenix, my father had become gravely ill and was hospitalized for about a month. Brian’s job was becoming increasingly difficult and weighing on him like a ton of bricks. My husband’s aunt who we adored had passed away unexpectedly and we took it really hard. On top of it all Brian lost his job when they laid-off half his company. What a few months of hell. Time for a rebirth, time for change, and time to move on. Seattle bound we were which leads us to now. (I moved here exactly 2 years ago this past week!)
We came to Seattle for a new start, and to regain what we had. I guess you can say we were looking for our independence again. With all the greenery and growth here it was the perfect move to make. It seemed like there was “life” here if that makes sense to anyone? Room to grow if you will. So I find it a bit ironic that I see all these splendors of nature here that I had to search for in Phoenix. Sweet Peas galore and rosemary a plenty….or just for remembrance, like in Shakespeare?
The Fourth of July is this week and many of you will be BBQ-ing it up. With red, white and blue food and desserts decking out your tables; however I might be going about it a different route. Sweet Peas freshly picked from one of my walks through our hood. Let us not forget Rosemary Shortbread – you always should remember where you came from, and how you got there. Happy 4th to you all! Happy Cooking!
Rosemary Shortbread (makes about 30 cookies, depending on size)
These cookies are wonderfully light and mildly sweet. The mixture of rosemary along with the honey creates not only a beautiful aroma when baked, as well as a lovely taste with a buttery goodness. They are great any time of day, and especially lovely with tea! I am sure you will become a fan, as so many of our customers and friends have.
4 cups of AP Flour
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of baking powder
2 tbsp of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 pound of butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp of honey
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 Tbsp of granulated sugar or sugar in the raw
First; in a bowl stir together your flour, sea salt, & baking powder and set it aside. In a standing mixer cream together your butter, honey, and powdered sugar. Once your butter, honey, and powdered sugar are creamed together you can mix in the rosemary. When that is all well combined you can then add your flour mixture. Add it in slowly until it is all combined together. It will begin to all become one form when it is ready.
Next; line a sheet pan with parchment and press your shortbread batter into your pan evenly across it. I like to press it into place, and then place another sheet of parchment across the top of it. With a rolling pin or a study even jar (depending on what will fit within the rim of the baking sheet) gently roll over the shortbread dough to be sure it is all evenly placed within the pan.
Then; remove the top layer of parchment and with a knife carefully score where you would like your cookie to be cut. Once that is done, with a fork prick each cookie evenly. (This is so heat will escape the shortbread while it bakes without it deforming the shape of the cookie.) Sprinkle the top of the shortbread with either the granulated sugar or the sugar in the raw. Place the sheet pan in the freezer so that the shortbread will become firm before braking.
Finally; pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. Once your oven is at temperature you can place your chilled shortbread in the oven and bake about 30 - 40 minutes. You are looking for the cookies to have a slightly golden blond look to them around the edges of your pan, and a nice firmness to the touch. Let cool about 10 minutes before re-cutting the cookies along the scores you made. Be sure they are cool to the touch before lifting off of the pan.