Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sage-Scented Cookies

Perfumed lotions aren't really my thing. Usually, they are too sweetly artificial, too "apple," too "freesia."

My aversion stems from my first year of college, when my roommate wore a suffocating amount of Victoria Secret pear lotion. We did not get along, the two of us, and I will always associate the stress of living with her with the smell of pear lotion and cigarettes. And stale Papa Gino's pizza, left on the floor. By her. The previous week.

I lived with friends for the rest of college.

Herbal scents, on the other hand, are my thing. Rosemary is beautiful to me; Williams Sonoma used to make a lovely hand soap using this herb. Without the cloying sweetness of floral or fruit perfumes, herbal scents make me, well, think of the kitchen.

Sage is one of my favorite scents. It reminds me of summer camp in the Rockies, where sage grows along hiking trails. Walking along, I would get occasional whiffs of the faintly peppery leaves.

It's not news that scent and memory are closely linked in the mind.

This sage-y, buttery cookie recipe caught my attention the other day. I like the fact that this cookie contains only a few ingredients, giving the cookie a straightforwardness that other cookies do not have. Each of the flavors has its own prominence, and its own lovely aroma. Your house will smell great.

Sage-Scented Shortbread
Adapted from Bon App
étit, November 2007

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, room temperature

Blend first 4 ingredients in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, process until dough comes together. Divide in half. Shape each dough piece into log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill until firm enough to slice, about 30 minutes.

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Cut each dough log into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rounds; place on sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Reverse sheets so bottom sheet is on top rack of oven and top sheet is on bottom rack. Bake until cookies are golden, about 15 minutes longer. Cool on racks.

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