Savory Shortbread the Hard Way. Grilled Cheese the Easy Way

Mistakes were made.

I used to make shortbread all the time, and had the ratio of flour, butter, and sugar memorized. When I decided to make a savory version with Spiceology’s Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Rub, I thought I’d be fine by double-checking my memory with an online recipe.

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 Mistake number one: trusting my memory.

Mistake number two: not going to one of the reputable cooking websites that I normally frequent. No, I won’t give the name of blog whose savory shortbread recipe I used to refresh my memory. Suffice it to say that I should have known better when I saw that the ingredients were out of order and the sugar wasn’t listed. I assumed the half-cup of nothing in the recipe was sugar, because I’ve done this a million times, right?

 Not a mistake: combining this bright, floral, slightly spicy blend into a buttery cookie.

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 The ratios from the first recipe left me with what I optimistically called “butter crisps”. They weren’t shortbread, but they were still a tasty way to move this spice blend beyond the barbecue grill.

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It’s entirely possible that the blogger’s recipe works for her because of difference in climates. Or differences in the liquid content of the butter. These things can make a difference.

Also not a mistake: this recipe for Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Shortbread. It took some tinkering to get it to work, but I can safely say this version works. The result is a crumbly cookie with a hint of the spice in rich butter.

Mistake number three: limiting shortbread cookies to the realm of sweet. Sure, chocolate-dipped shortbread’s delicious (especially when made with the following recipe, substituting Spiceology’s Raspberry Chipotle Rub for the Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme. Go down the street to Kakao to get the chocolate to melt.). So’s shortbread sprinkled with mapley-sweet Wine Forest Candy Cap Mushroom Sugar. But savory’s an interesting twist, and a great option if you’re don’t have much of a sweet tooth but still want a little dessert. This pairs well with chai for a spicy twist on afternoon tea.

Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Shortbread

Makes one 9″x9″ baking pan

  • 1.5 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon Spiceology Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Rub
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x9″ square baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Mix in salt and Spiceology Pink Peppercorn Lemon Thyme Rub.

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Add flour and mix until the mixture’s combined and crumbly, but holds together when pressed.

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 Press mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Lightly score with a knife.

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 Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool, then cut into squares.

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 Mine are but wee Scottish shortbread, because we gave them away on Sample Saturday. You can cut yours whatever size you like.

Also not a mistake: Larder & Cupboard’s new made-to-order grilled cheese sandwiches. Five bucks gets you buttery toasted Great Harvest bread loaded with our proprietary blend of aged white cheddar, whole-milk mozzarella, and gouda. We’ve got this recipe down-pat. It’s a great $5 lunch. Add a Spindrift soda for $2. It’s a good decision.

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And the Winner is … These Oscar Party Snacks!

I’m not a movie person. Or an award show person. But I’m a snacker, so any excuse for a party with salties and sweeties is okay by me. This weekend’s Oscars offer a chance to glam up some old favorites.

You need popcorn, of course. Go super-luxurious and easy by tossing popped corn with Ozark Forest Truffle Butter or Wine Forest Fennel Salt.

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The fennel salt’s sweet and aromatic, perfect for a late-winter hint of spring.

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In Februrary Bon Appetit published a recipe for spicy-sweet Buffalo Wing Popcorn, which we’re loving with Gift Horse Hot Sauce from Juniper.

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Or, if you don’t want to mess with baking your popcorn, make buttered popcorn with a good dose of Spiceologist’s Black and Bleu Rub. We just got our first shipment of it yesterday, and it’s delicious!

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We’re doing a smoky take on kettle corn with Bourbon Smoked Sugar and Salt:

Smoky Kettle Corn

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1/3 cup Bourbon Smoked Sugar

3/4 teaspoon Bourbon Smoked Salt

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn and sugar. Give the kernels a quick stir and then cover with a lid.

Once the popcorn starts popping, carefully pick the pot up and give it a quick shake every few seconds until the popping slows down, between 3-4 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and pour the kettle corn into a large bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

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If you’d prefer all sweet, we have some flavorful twists on the Honey Blondies recipe that ran in Martha Stewart Living in January with bourbon barrel-aged vanilla, Seed Geeks local raw honey, and Missouri-grown Hammons black walnuts.

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Honey Blondies, L&C-Style
Makes 16

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for pan

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

⅓ cup Seed Geeks Honey

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ cup Hammons recipe-cut black walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8″ square baking pan. Line with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides, then butter and flour the parchment.

Melt butter and honey in a saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in egg and vanilla, then flour, salt and black walnuts until just combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

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Bake until browned on edges and set, about 28 minutes. Let cool completely in pan set on wire rack, then lift blondies out of pan using parchment overhang. Cut into squares. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container up to three days.

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Top off your Hollywood-style celebration with a classic cocktail named for classic Hollywood honcho, Mary Pickford. Originally pomegranate grenadine gave her signature drink its pink blush, but we’re giving it an award-winning cherry twist with Quince & Apple’s Tart Cherry Grenadine. It won a 2014 Good Food Award – that’s like Best Picture!

Cherry (ahem) Pickford
Makes 1 cocktail

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1.5 ounces white rum

1.5 ounces pineapple juice

1 tsp Quince and Apple Tart Cherry Grenadine
dash of liquid from Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries

1 Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherry for garnish

Combine everything but the cherry in a shaker filled with ice. Shake, pour into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with the cherry.

Happy MardiValentines Day!

Laissez bon temps roulez, Valentine!

Every few years mid-February explodes with reasons to celebrate, when Mardi Gras coincides with Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day a week from Saturday, Fat Tuesday on the 17th, and lots of people being off work on the 16th for President’s Day, we’re in a tizz coming up with tasty ways to let the good times roll.

Valentine’s  Day should be about spending time with your beloved, not about sweating in the kitchen, so we’re not going to make you feel guilty with recipes. Instead, we’ll set you up with the goods to make your Valentine’s Day delicious. Set the mood with wine and cheese. Vermont’s award-winning Old Chatham Sheepherding Company’s limited edition heart-shaped camembert arrived this week, along with Missouri’s own World Cheese Award-winner –  Coeur de la Creme goat cheese hearts from Baetje Farms in Bavarian Lemon Creme and Dark Chocolate Raspberry. Serve along with the Choco’Berry Press from Grace & I. These hand-crafted, all-natural bars feature raspberries, strawberries, coconut, white chocolate, and almonds.

Go the traditional route with a box of candy from Juniper, including their cherry divinity. Need flowers? Alice Blue Co. will have bouquets in the shop on Valentine’s Day.

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We’ve been putting together lots of sweet little gifts, too: sets of Quince & Apple preserves, adorable mini tins of smoked sugar, sea salt and paprika from Bourbon Barrel Smoked Foods, and breakfast in bed gift boxes with Juniper biscuit mix, Stringbean Coffee, Kakao chocolate hearts, bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, and preserves.

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Are you finished basking in the glow of your love yet? Because there’s Mardi Gras cooking to do! Today our tiny kitchen is filled with wonderful aromas of wild mushroom andouille gumbo, and fig and sweet tea bread pudding. Come into Larder & Cupboard on Saturday, February 7th to sample both, along with cheeses from Fox River Dairy and chutneys from Legacy.

I’ve always loved making gumbo, even though it can be a bit time-consuming. It’s a meditative process, stirring the roux. I don’t make it very often, but when I do I go for a big batch and plan for a party. If you know how to make a roux, your gumbo flavoring options are endless. For this batch I used Williams Brothers Andouille sausage from Washington, Missouri, Ozark Forest’s Oriental Mix of Missouri-grown dried wild mushrooms, and an unexpected flavor boost from Missouri Wild Edibles‘ mushroom miso paste.

Wild Mushroom and Andouille Gumbo

Yield: 5 quarts/10 servings

1 quart boiling water

2 1-ounce packets Ozark Forest Oriental Mushroom mix

½ cup butter

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 green pepper, chopped

1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1 lb. Williams Brothers andouille, cut into 1″ rounds

2 tablespoons Missouri Wild Edibles Mushroom Miso Paste, or more to taste

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  1. Pour boiling water into a large bowl. Add Ozark Forest Dried Chanterelles and Dried Woodland Medley. Let sit at least 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms. Strain any grit from the water. Reserve remaining liquid.IMG_9445.JPG
  1. Make the roux: melt butter in a heavy-bottomed stockpot. Slowly whisk in flour. Stirring constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot, cooking until the roux until it’s the color of peanut butter, then lower heat. Keep cooking and stirring until the roux’s dark copper. This entire process will take 30-45 minutes.

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  1. Add pepper, onion, and celery. Increase heat and stir vegetables into roux for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sausage, and cook for another two minutes. Add hot sauce.

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  1. In another pot, heat reserved mushroom water, plus two quarts of water. Slowly whisk water into the roux mixture. Add mushrooms. Bring gumbo to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an hour.

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  1. Whisk in miso paste and add andouille. Heat through, but don’t boil.

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  1. Serve in bowls over rice and season with hot sauce.

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Bread pudding’s the quintessential New Orleans dessert, and it’s not hard to find it on menus. It’s a simple dish designed to utilize leftover bread. The combination of bread and custard makes a great palette for so many other flavors. I started my batch with Harvest White from our neighbors at Great Harvest Bread Company, which has a great balance of sweet and sour, and is soft enough to soak up the custard. From there, I searched our shop for flavors that make me think of Louisiana – figs and sweet tea.


Fig and Sweet Tea Bread Pudding

Serves 6

1 Earl Gray teabag

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 loaf day-old French bread, torn into 1″ pieces

2 cups heavy cream

3 eggs

1 cups sugar

1/2 Grace + 1 Fig and Nut Bar, coarse chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated

½  6-oz jar Quince & Apple Figs and Black Tea Preserves

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon Seed Geeks honey

  1. Steep tea bag in 1 cup heavy cream, covered and chilled 8-12 hours.

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine bread and 2 cups heavy cream in a large mixing bowl. Squish bread into cream until it’s completely absorbed.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, then add sugar, Fig and Nut Bar, and lemon zest. Pour over the bread mixture. Stir to combine.

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  1. Pour melted butter into a 9″x9″ baking pan, swirling to coat the bottom and sides. Press half of the bread mixture into the pan. Spread Figs and Black Tea Preserves over the bread layer.

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Top with remaining bread mixture. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away from the pan.  

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  1. While bread pudding is baking, remove teabag from cream. Whip with 2 cups heavy cream and honey. Use to top bread pudding.

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And now you have yourself a party fit for three holidays.