Some days are quiet...
On days like these my head gets clear and I can hear what my heart is saying. It says "maple-cinnamon" and "pumpkin-streusel". But fall baking will have to wait. The weather forecast calls for something much more refreshing.
The flavors for these two sweets was inspired by my grandmother's favorite snack. She'd crumble a piece of leftover cornbread in a bowl-full of buttermilk and then eat it with a spoon, like cereal. I think this "snack" makes a perfectly acceptable dinner (though I prefer whole milk to buttermilk).
The buttermilk-basil sorbet is a snap to make and it's oh-so refreshing! The surprise ingredient is a bit of lime juice that perfectly heightens the basil flavor.
The cornmeal shortbread is just sweet enough. And if you're feeling daring, grind mixed peppercorns on top of unbaked dough slices. You might be surprised at how lovely it is.
One last thing! I've contributed an extra cute recipe for "Monster Cupcakes" to this awesome children's book that is currently being funded through KickStarter. It is illustrated by Heather Ozee and written by author Christina Cody with the sole purpose of inspiring children to read. If this resonates with you consider helping the cause!
Yield: twelve 1/2 cup servings [click for printable version]
Adapted from: Food.com
Light and refreshing - just as sorbet should be! If you're not crazy about basil, omit it from the simple syrup recipe or swap it for cilantro.
1 1/3 cups sugar, granulated, divided
2/3 cup water
1 cup fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons
4 cups reduced fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest, grated finely with a microplane or other fine grater
- Combine 2/3 cup sugar with 2/3 cup of water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add basil; let steep for 5-7 minutes or until syrup is strongly fragrant with basil. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine remaining 2/3 cup sugar with buttermilk, lime juice and zest; mix until sugar dissolves. Add cooled basil simple syrup to buttermilk mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Place mixture into an ice cream maker and employ according to the manufacturer's directions. Transfer sorbet to a container and freeze for 12 to 24 hours before serving.
Note: If you don't have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a metal tray and place it in the freezer. When the mixture starts to freeze, rake a fork through it several times to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process about 4 or 5 times over the course of three hours. You can also pour the mixture into ice pop molds.
(I used the ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid mixer)
Yield: 24-30 cookies
Adapted from Gale Gand's recipe for Food Network [click for printable version]
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornmeal, plus more for coating
3/4 teaspoon salt
- Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar and mix until well combined. Add the vanilla bean paste or extract and beat again. Add the flour and salt and mix until blended. Mixture will be crumbly at first, so keep beating until a soft, non-sticky dough forms.
- Roll into a log and then roll in cornmeal to coat. Brush off excess cornmeal. Cover in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Slice shortbread dough thinly and bake on a Silpat or parchment paper for 12 to 15 minutes. When done the shortbread will still be blonde. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 5 minutes; they will crisp as they cool.