Spring is a season of renewal and wonder. I love to walk through my garden and welcome back tender shoots of beloved perennials as if welcoming back a long lost friend. Having reached a certain age when friends do leave the winter for warmer climes, a new spring ritual has become reconnecting with friends returning home. This week my dear friend Dona returned from Arizona. We met to walk through our local gem of a garden, Chanticleer(www.chanticleergarden.org/). Much to our surprise, there was already so much in bloom to celebrate friendship and spring and make our hearts soar with the joy of both.
After our brown bag lunch, I surprised my friends with a box of flower-shaped shortbread cookies each topped with a fresh sugared pansy, which I had seen on a favorite blog, Stonegable, last month. (You can see the original post here: www.stonegableblog.com/2010/05/pansy–shortbread–cookies.html)
The cookies were easy and as scrumtious as they were pretty! In French, pansies have such a pretty name, pensées, or thoughts…. Befitting for a girlfriends’ reunion to catch up on friendship!
“I pray, what flowers are these? The pansy this, O, that’s for a lover’s thoughts”
Pansies, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Henri Fantin-Latour, 1903
PANSY-TOPPED SHORTBREAD COOKIES(Adapted from Stonegable blog)
1 1/4 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c butter, room temperature
1/4 t vanilla
1 egg white, whisked
2 T sugar to sprinkle over flowers
Rinse, pat and dry pesticide-free pansies and leave to dry on paper towels. Make sure to cut back all the stem and most of the back greenery so your flowers will lay flat on the cookie.
Combine flour and sugar. Cut in the butter and vanilla until mixture looks like oatmeal. Shape into a ball, roll out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out desired shape. Place on a parchement lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart, and bake at 325 F 30 minutes until edges are golden.
Remove, cool, then brush with a thin coating of egg white. Add a pansy and coat the top of the flower with additional egg white, brushing the petals flat onto the cookie as you work. Sprinkle with some sugar and rebake for 5 minutes at 325F.
Although best eaten fresh, these cookies can be frozen. The flower will absorb moisture and its texture will be more noticeable on the thawed out cookie.