with "Coriander Sugar"

Sitting in front of me when I cook is a shelf with a sweet gift from my children, a spice rack with an assortment of 20 spice jars. Half of them are dried herbs and seasonings and the other half are seeds and spices. I occasionally use them but there are a few I have honestly never used in my life. Such the case with coriander. The jar is filled with small round golden tan seeds that I have admired for there mention in the bible, and there leafy counterpart cilantro which I use very often, but that's it! A case study in seeds and spices was born! At first whiff of the seed it really doesn't put out that much aroma, but then I crushed them in my mortar and pestle and WOW.. the fragrance is really quite beautiful. My first impression was citrus but as I continued smelling the sent it reminded me of my assortment of scented geraniums. I couldn't quite pinpoint which one, it was between my lemon scented and the rose scented geraniums and maybe even lemon verbena but not quite that strong.

I was playing with the idea of making a pork roast using the crushed coriander, and I can still totally envision the two together, but I decided to try a baked good. To me, shortbread cookies go so well with floral scents and herbs, like lavender and rose water, so shortbread became my test item.

I went about the recipe by first grinding two tablespoons of coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle and then pulsing the ground seeds with 2 cups of sugar in a food processor. I put the coriander sugar in the refrigerator for a few days. When it was time to use the sugar it took on such a beautiful aroma. This is where I would love to hear comments, I would love to know if any one else has experimented with Coriander, the fragrance was so much like an English Tea blend, perfect for English Shortbread!

The recipe I used for the shortbread cookies is adapted from The Afternoon Tea Book by Michael Smith. It is a rich shortbread cookie utilizing an egg yolk along with the sugar, flour and butter. I also changed it a bit by using half flour and half almond meal.

3/4 cups Flour
3/4 cups blanched Almond Meal
1/2 Sweet Butter cold and cubed
4 Tbs. Coriander Sugar
1 large Egg Yolk, lightly beaten
1-2 Tbs.. raw sugar

Lightly butter an 8 inch square nonstick baking pan or a 9 inch round pan.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the flour and almond meal together. Rub into the butter until sandlike in texture. Toss in 4 tablespoons of sugar, mixing well. With a fork, mix in the yolk to form a rough, dryish paste. Press the mixture evenly into the pan. Prick all over in rows at 1/4 inch intervals.
Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of raw sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until lightly golden brown.
Cut into 1 by 2 inch fingers or diamond shapes while still warm. Leave to cool completely in the pan.
Shortbread stores well in an airtight tin. It also freezes for up to six months.

Hoping you enjoy!
Ciao and Buon Appetito,


Proud Italian Cook said...

I have coriander in my cabinet and I don't think I ever used it either.
I guess I tried to relate it to the taste of cilantro, but it dosen't taste like that at all. Your explanation was perfect, and let me tell you, that shortbread looks beyond good!!!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Oh wow! That sounds awesome Laurie. Coriander is one of my favorite spices! There is a nice sweetness to it already, so I bet it is great as a sugar mixture.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea - I have never tried coriander in a sweet baked good before, but it sounds brilliant. I use coriander in spiced rices and pilafs, curries, spice rubs - things like that. I have some lovely organic seeds that I harvested from my cilantro plants - I'll have to use them in this recipe!

Megan said...

Those sound wonderful. I like how you used the almond meal. Bookmarked!!!

Passionate About Baking said...

Hey there the sound of this. i think you are possibly the first one to put coriander to such yummy use. I have a recipe of polenta biscotti that uses some coriander powder...but this looks way out YUM!!

Meghan said...

what a wonderful combination!

Vera said...

Laurie, the cookies look tasty! I often use ground coriander in my baked goods. I always put generous amount - tsps or even tbsps, sometimes. It's common in Italian recipes.

Maggie said...

I love your top photo of the shortbread! I don't think I've ever had coriander in a dessert. I'd love to try these.