Several weeks ago, The Astronomer purchased a most lovely basil plant from Trader Joe’s for just $2.99. [Our friends B-side and SinoSoul are also proud owners of these bargain basement basil plants.] The Astronomer figured that even if the plant died after being harvested once, it wouldn’t have been any more expensive than purchasing packaged basil from the herb section. Indeed, a sound and rational call.
After weeks of spoiling our plant with the finest tap water and plenty of sunshine, we were rewarded with a thriving plant with an abundance of leaves. For our basil plant’s inaugural harvest, I baked sweet and savory basil cookies using a simple recipe from 5 Star Foodie. The cookies’ textures and flavors are both spot on—I added lemon zest to brighten up the entire package.
Pestos and caprese salads are great uses for basil, but savory desserts offer an unexpected and delicious surprise.
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 cup basil leaves (packed)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
Finely chop basil by hand or in a food processor. Add lemon juice and mix until well blended. Pour into a bowl and whisk in the egg.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In a third large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and zest together, then mix in the basil-egg mixture and flour mixture until the dough forms.
Shape into a ball, cover in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Form the dough into golf ball-sized rounds. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until bottoms are nice and golden.
Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.
Makes 24 cookies.