I made this rose and raspberry flavored shortbread from a recipe in the New York Times, a creation of the French pastry chef Pierre Hermé. It’s a simple shortbread cookie, with the addition of rose essence and freeze-dried raspberries. These “sablés” remind me of all the goodies from Fortnum and Mason which are rose-scented, and the raspberry boosts the flavor without masking it.
Rose and lavender are great for culinary use, but they have to be used sparingly. Fragrance-lovers might think “the more, the better,” yet too much of the floral can make the food taste like soap. I once had pancakes with lavender syrup at a restaurant, and while I loved the idea, the execution was… overenthusiastic.
Therefore I resisted the temptation to tinker with the recipe, except for the special rose-flavored “sanding sugar.” I can never find this “sanding sugar” in the store, so I used regular granulated sugar. The instructions were to place it in a ziploc bag, add 1/4 tsp. rose extract, and a few drops of red food coloring.
The dough is a standard shortbread cookie dough of flour, butter and sugar with a pinch of salt. To this you add 1/2 tsp. rose essence and a half-cup of freeze-dried raspberries which have been crushed to a rough powder.
The instructions say to divide the dough into four parts and roll each into an 8-inch log. I didn’t believe that the small amount of dough would be enough for four “logs,” but these cookies are quite small, the size of a medium coin. The logs are rolled in the rose sugar, then refrigerated for an hour, then cut into half-inch thickness.
The cookies are placed in a 325 F (160 C) oven for 19-20 minutes, turning the sheet after 10 minutes to ensure even baking. I misread the temperature and used 350, which made them more brown than they ought to be, but they’re still delicious.