Tag: Shortbread

Herb and Lemon Shortbread with Straus Family Butter {Sponsored}

Herb and Lemon Shortbread // Serious Crust
Herb and Lemon Shortbread // Serious Crust
Herb and Lemon Shortbread // Serious Crust
Herb and Lemon Shortbread // Serious Crust

I love butter. Let’s be clear here, I don’t like to grab a stick and eat it like a candy bar, the way my mother used to. Certainly not. But there is something to be said for a good piece of sourdough covered in melty butter. Or a roast chicken that’s been slathered in butter and salt and pepper. You know what I mean?

Recently, Jonah and I have become more interested in buying “good” butter. Butter is butter – it’s good. But we were wanting to buy butter made with milk from grass-fed cows. It started a couple months ago when our roommate’s dad, Bruce, came to visit. Bruce is very knowledgeable about diet and nutrition, and while he was here we had many conversations about foods that people think are bad for you (aka butter) but aren’t really if you eat them well. Good fats are good for you, guys! Things like good olive oil, good butter, even chicken livers (fatty, yes, but full of nutrients), are things we can enjoy without feeling guilty about it.

So when I was sent some coupons for Straus Dairy products, I knew immediately I wanted to try their butter. I started with ye old piece of toast. What better way to judge a butter’s character? It was good. It was richer and creamier than your average butter. So I took things to another level. I had bought some chicken livers the day before, so I made some chicken liver paté (Julia Child’s recipe, in case you were interested). And let me tell you, it was some incredibly creamy paté.

Let’s talk for a second about Straus Family Creamery. After spending a fair amount of time on Straus’s website, perhaps one of the things I find the coolest is that they were the first 100% certified organic creamery in the country. For real! Evolving from a family dairy farm, Straus Family Creamery was officially founded in 1994, when Albert Straus saw going organic as a way to differentiate himself and save the state of local family farming. The butter has 85% butterfat content, and is less moist than normal butter. What does this mean for us bakers? It means it’ll brown more evenly and be more flaky. And for the cooks? It doesn’t burn as easily. Now I know, this butter ain’t cheap. But when you’re making butter heavy things like paté or shortbread, I think it’s worth spending the extra few dollars. You don’t skimp on a pork shoulder or buy cheap-o chocolate for your chocolate chip cookies, do you? I thought not.

Enough waxing poetic about butter, Annie. Let’s get on to this recipe for herb and lemon shortbread. On our front steps, we have a little pot of herbs that we carried with us from our last home. Our thyme isn’t looking so hot, but the sage is coming back strong this spring. And every time I walk by that pot, I start thinking of things I could do with those herbs. This week, I had an idea for this herb and lemon shortbread. And lo and behold, I had one stick of this beautiful butter left. It was perfect.

Herb and Lemon Shortbread

Note: I used solely sage for this recipe, but any combination of sage, rosemary, and thyme would be great, I think.


1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbl plus 1 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp freshly chopped herbs (I used 1 tsp of freshly chopped sage, and wish I had used more)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 stick (8 oz) Straus Family butter, unsalted, at room temperature


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour and salt together in a medium bowl, set aside. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbl sugar plus chopped herbs and lemon zest. Rub these ingredients together with your fingers – this will make sure the sugar absorbs the oils from the herbs and lemon, making it perfectly aromatic. Add the sugar mixture to the flour, and stir until combined. Cut the butter into chunks, and combine it with the flour/sugar mixture with a fork or a pastry knife, blending until you’ve got a beautiful soft dough.

Gently press the dough into a 9×9 baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of sugar over the top. Bake until it’s golden brown around the edges. Once you’ve removed it from the oven, carefully cut it into wedges or squares or whatever shape you like while it’s still hot. Allow to cool before separating it. It helps to run the knife along the lines again.

I think this shortbread would make a fantastic base for lemon bars or rhubarb bars or any kind of bar topped with curd. Just saying.

This is a sponsored post. I was given coupons for Straus Dairy products, and all of the opinions below are my own.

Peach Shortbread and changes

Peach Shortbread // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerPeach Shortbread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

It has been a week since I last posted, and oh what a week it has been. The past month has been a time of change for me. We moved into a new house in NE Portland, which has been really great. While at first I was not happy to be leaving SE, our new location has surprised me.

Also, I have changed jobs. They company where I worked is undergoing some big changes, and while I am still going to be doing some contracting work creating Prezis for them, I am an account manager no more! At first, this was scary, and I wasn’t sure what to do next. I applied to some administrative and management jobs, but what I kept coming back to was food. I knew I was not easily going to get a job in a restaurant, as I have no experience whatsoever. But I sure as hell was gonna try. Within about a week and a half, I had a new job, hostessing at a restaurant in NE Portland. I won’t tell you which one yet, as I’m still kind of in my training period, but so far, I am really enjoying it. The people are great, the food is awesome, and it’s a completely different kind of job. I needed that change in my life.

Peach Shortbread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Peach Shortbread // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Anyway, in the midst of all this, I went to what will probably be one of my last commune dinners for a while. Sadly, my new schedule has me working on Monday nights. I’m hoping to make it to dinner whenever I can, because I’ll miss all that craziness, all that good food, and all that company.

For my last dinner, I was asked to make something with the peaches I had recently picked. North of Portland, there’s a small island in the middle of the river called Sauvie Island. To make sure the island doesn’t get all developed and covered with mansions, in order to live there, a certain amount of your income has to come from the land you own. This means lots of farms, cattle, sheep, etc. One of Portland’s most popular summer activities is going to pick berries, peaches, veggies, and flowers on the island. While our friend Emilie was in town, Jonah, Carmelle, and I took her to Sauvie Island Farms to go picking! We picked 6 ears of corn, 2 tubs of blueberries, a tub of raspberries, and 14 or so peaches, and got them all for $30. It was so fun! Anyway, I had posted photos of our fruit picking adventures, so a fruity dessert was requested. I found this recipe for peach shortbread on Smitten Kitchen, and did a little adjusting (mostly, we didn’t have nutmeg, so I used cloves and did half the amount). It was a big hit, and they were so dang easy to make.

Peach Shortbread


1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a generous pinch of ground clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter (or somehow otherwise grease) a 9×13 pan or baking dish. In an electric mixer, or a good sized bowl, mix the sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, clove, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, a pastry knife, a fork, or those finger things at the ends of your hands, cut and blend the butter and egg into the dry ingredients. It’s going to be dry and very crumbly, but that’s ok! Take 3/4 of the dough and pour them into the baking dish, pressing down so they’re firmly and evenly packing into the dish. Now, lay the peach slices on top. You want them to be evenly distributed, so make sure every edge and corner is covered. spread the remaining dough crumbs over the top of the peaches and bake for 30 minutes. The top should be slightly browned, and the edges should be golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing up and serving. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Curd Shortbread

Rhubarb shortbread.
Rhubarb shortbread

Rhubarb shortbread

Ok you guys. It has been too long. Again. But I promise I have good reasons: 3 jobs, a show (The Sound of Music!), and sunlight. I’ve been nannying part time, working at the office part time, and doing social media an hour a day, then going to many many hours of rehearsal in a suburb or Portland. So no time for cooking OR blogging. But here I am, backstage at the show, and I decided, I HAVE to do this.

You’ll have to excuse the iPhone photos for the next couple of posts (or Instagram, whichever I had the energy to use). Along with leaving my 8×8 pan at the cabin in the woods (which it turns out I needed for this recipe), I also left my camera charger… so my camera was sitting, dead and useless, for quite a while. So I know the pictures aren’t as good of quality as usual, but just bear with me until I get my camera up and running again!

I found this recipe on Food52 while looking for shortbread recipes to eat with a fruit compote. I love rhubarb, and am always looking for different and unique recipes, so I thought this would be a fun one to try. Warning: it is labor intensive and dish heavy. Read through this recipe all the way before you start. Please. You’ve been warned. Here’s what you’ll need:

Rhubarb Curd Shortbread


Rhubarb Curd

3/4 lb rhubarb (about 6 stalks)
4 Tbl water
1/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 1/8 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
3 Tbl butter, cut into chunks

Shortbread Crust

12 Tbl butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground clove


Rhubarb Curd

First, cut the rhubarb into one inch pieces. Heat the rhubarb, 1/4 cup of sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook it until the rhubarb is falling apart and there are no whole pieces left (you can help it along by mashing with your mixing tool, a wooden spoon works great). It you have an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the mixture. If you don’t have either of those, push the mixture through a strainer. I advise one of the blender methods.

If you have a double boiler, put a couple inches of water in the pot of it and set it over medium heat. If you don’t have a double boiler, find two pots that are about the same diameter, so that one can be set atop the other without going into whatever is in the bottom pot. Put egg yolks, butter, remaining sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in the top pot and set over the simmering bottom pot, and whisk to combine. When the sugar dissolves, add the rhubarb puree by the spoonful (to temper the eggs). When all the rhubarb is added, put the pot over the boil again. Stir for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is warm and slightly thickened, then remove from heat. Press the mixture through a strainer – this is an important step! It’ll give the curd a smooth texture.

Shortbread Crust

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you make the shortbread: blend all the ingredients for the shortbread in a stand mixer or food processor. Now, the recipe says to wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it, but I didn’t and it was just fine. The recipe also says to roll it into an 8X8 square and put it into an 8X8 pan… but I just dumped the dough into a pie dish and pushed it outwards until it was spread out. Bake the shortbread for 30 minutes until golden brown. Set to cool on a rack.

Use a spatula to spread the curd evenly over the shortbread. Put it in the oven for another 10 minutes, remove, and allow to cool on a rack. Then refrigerate for another 20 minutes. It’ll be nice and firm enough to slice cleanly. Enjoy! (If you want to wait another couple minutes, you can dust with powdered sugar… I couldn’t wait.)

Matcha Green Tea Cookies

Matcha Green Tea Cookies

Matcha Green Tea Cookies
Matcha Green Tea Cookies

Matcha Green Tea Cookies

A little while ago it was my dear friend Rosie’s birthday. She and I met in college and immediately became close friends. Perhaps one of our favorite things to do together was to go downtown to the Tea Zone in the pearl district and get Green Tea Lattes. They were amazing, so creamy and delicious and this beautiful green color. When Rosie studied abroad, I knew she had missed them and brought her a green tea latte when I went to pick her up at the airport.

So like I said, it was Rosie’s birthday, and a few days beforehand I happened to be surfing some food blogs and stumbled across this recipe for matcha green tea cookies. The timing could not have been better. I immediately knew that I had to make these for her. I walked down the street to Tea Chai Te (another wonderful tea shop in Portland) and picked up a couple ounces of matcha (I wanted extra to send to her along with the cookies) and started baking away.

Matcha Green Tea Cookies

A note about your matcha: the better the quality, the greener it will be! I hope yours is as vividly green as mine was. I’ve never called cookie dough beautiful before. But it was suitable for cookies for Rosie. 


3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 tbsps matcha green tea powder
10 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup flour
3 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar (to roll the cookies in pre-baking)


First, mix together the confectioner’s sugar and the matcha powder. Then add in the butter, and mix thoroughly to cream it.

Now, add in the flour and mix just until is it combined. The thing with shortbread-type cookies is the less you handle them, the better. Now toss in the egg yolks and mix until the dough comes together. It will look a wee bit like play dough, but instead of those obnoxious neon colors it will be a beautiful forest green.

Now you can dump the dough out onto a clean surface (aka counter) and make it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. When you remove the dough, start preheating your oven to 350 degrees, and dump the sugar into a shallow bowl.

Roll out your dough until it’s about 1/2 an inch thick. Using a cookie cutter that’s about two inches wide, cut out some cookies! This is totally the fun part. Feel free to mash up scraps and re-roll the dough as many times as you wish. The dough actually comes back together really nicely, unlike some other cookies. Anyway, after you’ve cut them out, you can dunk them in sugar and put them on a baking sheet. (If you don’t have awesome baking sheets that everything slides right off of, I might suggest putting parchment paper down.)

Bake them for 12-15 minutes, or until they just start to turn golden at the edges. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool, and then enjoy! (The website also warns to store them in the shade as the color will fade with exposure to the sun…)