The Long-Suffering Husband came home a couple of weeks ago with yet another pound of King Arthur White Whole-Wheat Flour. He has a habit of buying this instead of regular unbleached white flour. Admittedly, the label is confusing. The whole flour made from “white wheat” is lighter in color and milder-tasting than regular whole wheat. But it is not quite a substitute for refined flour (though no doubt it is vastly more nutritious and healthy).
The LSH, wheat berry lover that he is, was either in need of new glasses or going all Reverend Graham on me. The righteous Sylvester Graham, inventor of the whole-wheat graham cracker, was a fellow vegetarian, but he also preached against the use of alcohol, any herbs and spices that might result in too much enjoyment of food, and the most pernicious plague of all: sexual urges, which he thought caused disease.
In order to counteract the Graham-y effects of whole wheat, I needed a suitably sinful, aromatic and delectable recipe. I did a few internet searches for white whole wheat, and ran across a seductive Rosemary Pine Nut Shortbread in 100 Cookbooks. Interesting–a shortbread that uses whole-wheat flour! Rosemary has long been considered to have aphrodisiac properties, for its stimulating scent and ability to increase circulation. I thought right away of our big potted rosemary plant, which lives outside in the summer, but during the frozen Ohio winter inhabits the basement (yes, my basement is home to some very potent aromatic herbs). And pine nuts! Ovid recommended them in his Art of Love as an aid to male amatory vigor. So did the Greek physician Galen. (The ancients found pine trees to be very impressive.)
A cookie with white cane sugar, rosemary, pine nuts, and loads of butter, plus plenty of nifty lemon zest. Goodbye Sylvester Graham, hello Casanova!
For good measure, I used a liqueur glass to cut them out. They were a bit thicker than the 1/4 inch recommended in the recipe, and took a lot longer to bake. Like other butter-laden cookies, they were fragile upon emerging hot from the oven, but quickly firmed up. And they were a huge hit, not only with the LSH, but with everyone else who tasted them. I hope they all enjoyed a little extra-zesty Christmas cheer.