Bringing Minnesota cookies to a potluck at which Jeremy Messersmith was playing. Oh, the irony. Also on the table: tater tot hot dish. How appropriate.
Even though cookies are MN-shaped (made possible by my friend Hannah, who left her cookie cutter in my possession for months before I could steel myself to take on the detailed, laborious process that is cut out cookies. Can I get an amen?), I worked out a shortbread recipe that is distinctly un-Minnesotan. Un-American even. Something had to offset.
Never mind the chocolate ones. They are just dark chocolate ginger sugar cookies for effect (recipe linked below). The real interesting ones are the lighter-colored shortbreads, made with hazelnuts, almonds and olive oil. It’s practically Italian.
I used a few salted almonds in the almond meal, and the resulting cookies were distinctly salty. Still a sweet cookie, but almost a little too much on the salt. I think it would pair fabulously with ice cream. I saved the leftover cookie crumbles and have visions of olive oil grilled peaches topped with ice cream/honey/cookie crumbles like a deconstructed fruit crisp. Is it September already? Am I too late to the game on the summer fruit crisp?
My only suggestion based on experience (the recipe is correct): you really ought to let the cookies cool on the sheet after you bake them/cut them. I found the warm cookies to be a little fragile, so unless you want Wisconsin-shaped eats…let cool completely before storing.
Salty Double Nut Olive Oil Shortbread
Adapted from The Kitchn
1 1/4 cup hazelnut/almond meal (I ground up hazlenuts and almonds in a food processor until fine)
1/2 cup flour + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup extra-virgin light olive oil
Heat the oven to 375°F. Whisk together the nut meal, flour, brown sugar, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, salt and lemon zest. Whisk in the vanilla and olive oil. The dough will be sandy and quite crumbly.
Press the dough firmly into a 8×8-inch (or 9×9-inch) dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until just lightly browned around the edges. Immediately cut the shortbread into shapes. Let cool completely before lifting them out of the pan, however.
Frost as desired with royal icing.
For the chocolate cookies, I used this recipe, adding a teaspoon or two of powdered ginger, which I couldn’t taste in the end.