Rosemary Lemon Shortbread

rosemary lemon shortbread
rosemary lemon shortbread

The rosemary in my garden is incredibly lush and fragrant this time of year. It makes me daydream of Mediterranean flavors. I wondered, “How can I put that dreamy seaside feeling in a baked treat?” While perusing shortbread cookie recipes I realized they are fairly versatile and can stand up to a strong herbaceous taste. With a little lemon zest for summery nuance, I knew I could create something delicious.

The recipes I found needed a simple vegan adjustment — using vegan butter in place of regular butter. No high altitude changes were required, which just left my taste preferences. Using less sugar brought out the scent of the rosemary I added, and lemon zest rounded out the flavor profile. These are slightly savory but still a cookie. They go as well with a bracing cup of coffee as they do alongside strawberry ice cream.

Rosemary Lemon Shortbread adapted from King Arthur Baking’s Shortbread recipe

2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup unsalted vegan butter, cold out of the fridge
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
up to 1.5 teaspoon water, if needed

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottom of an 8″ round cake pan with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Set aside.

Run the rosemary leaves through a coffee grinder until you have coarse bits. Put the ground rosemary in a medium bowl along with the flour, salt, and lemon zest. Whisk until combined.

Add the vegan butter and both sugars to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream them until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until it comes together. If the mixture is too dry, then dribble in the water a little at a time. The dough should be a bit stiff.

Press the dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup. Use a fork to prick the dough all over to allow the steam to escape. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the shortbread is a light golden brown across the top and the sides have pulled away from the pan.

Remove the pan from the oven and immediately flip the shortbread onto a clean cutting board. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the shortbread into wedges. You want to do this while the shortbread is still warm and can be easily cut. Transfer the wedges to a rack to cool completely.

Until next time, happy baking!

New Year’s Eve Spiced Nuts

New Years Eve spiced nuts

New Year’s Eve spiced nuts

The following snack is fun to have on-hand to munch on this New Year’s Eve. Its decadent taste can get you through until the grand dinner is served, or it can be eaten alongside any cocktail. You can choose one nut, or a mixture as I did. The flavorings can also be chosen to suit your palate, making this a munchie with endless combinations.

Traditionally, flavored nuts use egg white as a coating, which is decidedly non-vegan. But the recipe I found uses a double toasting and a wet coating to bring out the taste. It originally made a sweet nut, but I wanted something savory for a change. Whether you prefer sweet or more herbaceous, this is still a treat worthy of any celebration.

New Year’s Eve Spiced Nuts adapted from Quick Candied Nuts by America’s Test Kitchen

1 cup unsalted nuts (such as a mix of walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and cashews)
1 TBS spices (such as a mix of dried rosemary, smoked paprika, ancho powder, and garlic powder)
1/2 tsp organic sugar
1 TBS hot water
1/8 tsp sea salt

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350F. Spread nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant and slightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes, shaking sheet halfway through toasting. Transfer nuts to a plate and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. If doing more than one type of nut, then toast each individually as they have different cook rates. Place dirty baking sheet aside.

Grind together all spices in a spice grinder until powdered and mixed. Line now-empty sheet with parchment paper. Whisk spice blend, sugar, hot water, and salt in a large bowl until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add nuts and stir to coat. Spread nuts on baking sheet in a single layer and bake until nuts are crisp and dry, for 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer sheet to a wire rack and let nuts cool completely, for 15 minutes. Nuts can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Until next year, happy baking!

Happy Birthday to Vegan Baking Up High

celebration

Image courtesy of Victoria Pickering on flickr.com

Vegan Baking Up High turns one! It’s hard to believe I have spent a whole year researching baking methods and testing recipes to be vegan and work at high altitude. Some recipes required only a few attempts while others took several rounds (I still have Date Nut Bread in my freezer). Yet it was always worth the taste tests.

In the coming posts you can look forward to learning about aquafaba – the new vegan egg substitute. I also plan to focus on some savory baked goods (what, no chocolate???) and delving into healthier desserts (that are still decadent). But don’t worry, there will be recipes for the usual types of sweets, too.

Thanks for following along with me as I find better and more scrumptious ways to bake vegan at high altitude. If you have a favorite recipe that you want to become high-altitude vegan, then let me know. I’ll see if I can make it happen in the next year.

Happy Holidays!
-The Decadent Vegan Baker