I am so pleased to have Amelia Morris from Bon Appétempt as my first guest for this round of the 12 Days of Cookies.
Since the first time I clicked over to her blog, I knew she was something special. Amelia is a talented writer, recipe curator, performer (!!!) and cook. But more important than any of that, she makes me laugh—something that is often missing from food sites. She has created one of the most enjoyable, refreshing blogs out there and I look forward to every post. I’m so inspired by Amelia and Bon Appétempt. She reminds us that we need to make sure we have fun with these little corners of the internet that we rule. The ability to do anything we want with our sites should not be taken for granted. So let’s make some Evergreen Shortbread!
By adding some Douglas Fir tea to a shortbread cookie, Amelia creates something much more magical. A drop or two of green food coloring (which she says is optional, but I think is mandatory) makes these outrageous and fun. Below, Amelia shares the recipe and her answers to my questionnaire.
Thanks, Amelia! Thanks, too, to Matt—Amelia’s husband/photographer/partner-in-crime for these great images.
LOTTIE + DOOF FOOD QUIZ by Amelia Morris
Why this cookie?
Because it’s pretty simple yet will still stand out at your office’s annual holiday cookie swap. (I don’t know, my mom’s office does this every year.) Plus, since it’s shortbread, the focus is on the butter, not the sugar, so it can almost be refreshing in a month where the sweets overfloweth. Also, they’re green.
Sweet or salty?
Sweet. No, wait. Salty!
Chocolate or vanilla?
Vanilla…with chocolate cookies crumbled on top.
Hot or mild?
Hot! (But I’m sure you already knew that.)
What won’t you eat?
Liver. I’ve tried—twice. It’s just not my kind of organ meat.
Most memorable meal?
I love this question. For our honeymoon, about six months after our wedding, my husband and I went to San Francisco. It was before I started Bon Appétempt, and so, while we loved food, we weren’t filled with as many recommendations and expectations. We wandered the city and chose where to eat somewhat randomly. On our first night there, we ate at some tapas restaurant (Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the place.) I mostly remember that one of the small plates we ordered were bacalao croquettes, and that somewhere in the middle of the meal, after what must have been my second or third glass of wine, I was so happy, I cried.
Favorite object in your kitchen?
My little hand-painted, hot pink Oaxacan skull with a spider on top of its head that my friend Mary Anne got for me while she was in Mexico. She sent it to me via mail, and when I opened the box, I had no idea what it was or if it had a purpose…still don’t. So, it just sits on my kitchen windowsill in all of its creepy glory and makes me smile when I catch a glimpse of it.
What are you scared of in the kitchen?
So many things. Slicing my fingers, grating my fingers, accidentally turning on the food processor or blender while my fingers are in there, hot oil splashes, leaving the oven on and then going on a weeklong vacation, turning an ankle, et cetera.
Do you prefer to cook alone or with others?
Alone! Cooking with friends can make for a fun afternoon, but in general, I’m a world-class micromanager, and no one wants to be micromanaged in the kitchen. So alone with music is almost always my preference, or in the words of my husband, “I have my headphones on so I can’t hear anything if you tell me to do something.”
What country would you like to travel to for the food?
Sweden. Really, really want to go, but can’t afford that place…yet! Matt and I are in love with their culture and feel like it would be one of those places where you could go and not run into anything remotely resembling your regular life.
If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
Probably a potato because my mom loves them so much.
Favorite thing about winter?
My friends have a baby daughter named Winter, and I love how easily bribed she is with stuffed animals. On the off chance that you were referring to the season, I would have to say switching the bedding to flannel sheets and a down comforter. In a word: cozy.
Evergreen Shortbread Cookies (adapted from Organic & Chic by Sarah Magid)
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 packet of Douglas Fir Spring Tips tea*
- Green food dye (optional)
*The company Juniper Ridge carries this kind of tea and it’s delicious—lemony with just enough Douglas Fir aroma to subtly remind you that it’s wintertime. If you can’t find Douglas Fir tea, you could substitute with Earl Grey or any other tea blend you like.
Whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer at medium speed until it’s pale and fluffy, about five minutes. Then, at a speed low enough that you won’t create a giant flour cloud, slowly add the flour/salt mixture to the butter and sugar. Just before it’s completely blended, add the loose tea from its packet/tea bag. If you’re feeling festive, add a few drops of green food dye. (I have this gel kind of dye, and for a light green color, I only need two drops.) Continue mixing until well blended.
I like to slice these cookies into nice little ovals. In order to do this, lay plastic wrap on your work surface and place the dough on top. Shape the dough into a log, and then wrap it up well. Once it’s wrapped, you can shape it a bit more before chilling it in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes.
Towards the end of the thirty minutes, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough and cut the log into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange them about 1 1/2 inches apart from one another. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for five minutes.
Bake sheets one at a time until golden, 18-20 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the shortbread chill out for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy on a cold afternoon!
Previously, on THE 12 DAYS OF COOKIES
Day 1: Maple Pecan Cookies
Day 2: Fig and Date Swirls
December 7th, 2011 at 7:23 am
Love her! What a great Q&A.
Jessica @ Hungrygems says:
December 7th, 2011 at 7:35 am
Who knew 6 ingredients could be festive, mouthwatering and wipe the competition clean at a cookie swap (I dont’ know, Amelia’s mom’s office does it every year)? Green eggs and ham move over for green tea and butter: Dr. Suess for the new foodie age.
December 7th, 2011 at 7:47 am
…”If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
Probably a potato because my mom loves them so much.” – Love this! :o)
…I have never heard of Douglas Fir tea, so unusual. Or not, as I need to get out more. *sigh*giggle*
…I love shortbread cookies, love tea, love the appearance as well as love Douglas Firs. It’s a win-win! Thank you for sharing.
December 7th, 2011 at 8:29 am
Love! Shortbread is such a great cookie for the holidays. And the color on these cookies is so uber pretty.
December 7th, 2011 at 9:47 am
So glad to be a little part of this blessed tradition!! Alsooo, thank you for the kind words–I’m blushing on my side of the computer screen over here. Also, so glad you deemed the green dye mandatory! I wanted to, but chickened out. :) :)
December 7th, 2011 at 10:41 am
Love it! Great piece- and the cookies look good too!
December 7th, 2011 at 10:44 am
The only time I tried something flavored with douglas fir was at this boutique chocolate shop in Toronto. It was shaped like a tall triangle and paired with a dark bittersweet chocolate. Quite interesting…
What a refreshing spin on the classic shortbread. I do agree a touch of color is perfection :)
la domestique says:
December 7th, 2011 at 11:06 am
Fun! Great cookies! Love Bon Appetempt!
December 7th, 2011 at 11:30 am
I love this series. Thanks for including Bon Appetempt! Amelia says she knows who dies in the next kinfolk, but she won’t tell anyone.
December 7th, 2011 at 11:36 am
Awesome! I totally agree with all that you say about Bon Appetempt and Amelia – she’s refreshing, hilarious and an incredible writer and storyteller. Magic. (And I am so intrigued by this Evergreen tea!)
December 7th, 2011 at 11:50 am
Talk about festive! Where can I find this evergreen tea? I’ve not heard of this before, but am interested to incorporate it into holiday goodies.
You picked a great person to highlight here. Enjoy her blog immensely as well.
Mary Anne says:
December 7th, 2011 at 12:30 pm
I can personally attest to the deliciousness of this tea. I had the great fortune of having it served to me by none other than Matt. Actually, I think I made it myself. But I sipped it with Matt. It was one of my favorite teas ever! Worth the purchase for sure.
What a great post! I also LOVE Amelia and her blog. And I love Lottie and Doof! I wanted to tell you that I thought your gift guide was really great. Also, I have been thinking about those fig swirl cookies ever since you posted them! They are on my cookie list this year.
Hope you have lovely holidays!
Cal Cakestall says:
December 7th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
Sounds very interesting. When you say ‘packet of tea’, do you mean the contents of one teabag or do you mean the whole 1/4lb packet?
December 7th, 2011 at 1:19 pm
Delish cookie! A Nordic aside – hate to burst the Swedish dream bubble but while Sweden is a lovely place to visit and I have spent months there at a time over the years, it pretty much exactly resembles your regular life. Rather, it’s an ideal place to travel if you prefer to avoid the exotic.
Very comfortable, polite, safe and familiar. And everyone speaks english perfectly. I’ve been to plenty of seated dinners there where everyone else was Swedish and they all spoke english for me. Very gracious. Great place to visit, just don’t expect to feel as if you’ve gone far from home.
December 7th, 2011 at 1:46 pm
Hi Cat- not a 1/4 pound of tea, one tea bag.
Mary Anne- Thanks and glad to have another endorsement of the tea.
Matt- thanks for the photos! Amelia is a real jerk for not revealing what kind of twisted stuff happens in the next issue of Kinfolk, but maybe she has her reasons…..
Glad to see so many fans of BA!
December 7th, 2011 at 5:05 pm
Did you know Heston Blumenthal is making pine scented mince pies for Waitrose in the UK. They have had mixed reviews, but not sure what sort of pine flavouring he has been using! Your pine tea idea may be the answer:-)x
December 7th, 2011 at 5:49 pm
Tim: hahahahahaha It’s like Twin Peaks. You just have to watch (err, read) it to find out. Also, thanks for thanking Matt! sometimes I forget myself. OOPS.
December 7th, 2011 at 6:25 pm
If you can’t buy the tea, by the way, Douglas fir grows pretty much all over the west. White fir, if you can find it, is even more citrusy and delicious, and some other firs taste pretty good too… and lots of people have fir Christmas trees. The Spring tips are tender and yummy, but I use the needles year round and they’re crazy crazy scruptiously good :).
I love BA too. It’s one of only a few blogs that I get genuinely excited about new posts from (this one too :D)!
Ms. Nožisková says:
December 8th, 2011 at 1:35 am
Yay! BA and L+D together! You’re both wonderful. Thanks for all the effort the two of you put into your blogs… it is devoured with appreciation!
Happy Holidays! x
Kara Norman says:
December 8th, 2011 at 7:38 am
Oh goodness! I knew Lottie + Doof had exquisite taste, and now all is confirmed by inviting Amelia Morris to join the fun.
Thank you to L+D & Bon Appetempt for making the world of food accessible, stylish, and chock full of nurturing stories.
December 11th, 2011 at 11:29 am
Just made these with Earl grey – felt daring when I dumped the tea bag contents. Very good cookies!
December 12th, 2011 at 12:16 pm
Ah! I love the 12 days of Cookies. It’s how I stumbled across your awesomeness. 101 cookbooks and those sparkling ginger cookies a couple years ago were specifically responsible. After reading Heidi’s post, I wandered here and fell in love. Still am, actually.
As for these gems. So yummy! Thanks so much for sharing.
September 18th, 2012 at 10:41 am
I love your, it’s a real inspiration.
I have a juicy question for you: what’s the of the font in the picture?
I like it very much, and I want it for my scrapbook.
Thank you very very much.