Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Thymely Class

I've not entertained this week -- although it is the week for the Lunch Bunch but I had to postpone lunch until next week because of my "It's Thyme for Herbs" class on growing herbs on the prairie.

I'm sharing my tablescape for my class at Tablescape Thursday so please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see everyone's tables this Thursday!

My table at the Community Center where I held my class. I always believe in "Show and Tell" and since this was "A Thymely Class", I brought some thyme.
A wee strawberry jar which was my mothers -- each hole filled with thyme -- not special thyme but regular English thyme. I do like the simple old fashioned herbs in the garden.
And my very favorite all time herb book -- Betty Crocker's Kitchen Gardens by Mary Mason Campbell. A long owned book that is a bit dirty and dog-eared. It is my herb bible! My thymely rabbit is guarding the book!

Whenever I do a class on herbs, I always like to have an herbal taste. Everyone expects something savory -- herbs and savory go together -- but you can have herbs in sweets as well.

And even though my class was about herb gardening and fresh herbs, my taste last evening was for Herb De Provence orange butter cookies with an orange/herb de provence glaze.
They're easy to make and really very good. They're even better if made the day before -- the flavors meld to make a better cookie!
I don't do much with dried herbs but Herb de Provence is always in the larder. In a big pottery jar that I got ages ago at Williams-Sonoma. It's been emptied and refilled many times.
And Herb de Provence is easy to make -- if you don't dry your own herbs, Penzey's has some great dried herbs to use for the mixture (or you can even buy the Herb de Provence mixture from Penzey's).


2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 t. salt

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at cool room temperature (3 sticks)

1 cup powdered sugar

2 t. vanilla

2 t. dried Herb de Provence

finely grated zest of 1 orange

1/2 t. orange oil (or 1 t. orange extract)

1 - 2 T. fresh orange juice


2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 T. fresh orange juice

finely grated zest of 1 large orange

1 T. dried Herb de Provence

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch and salt. Reserve. In a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla, Herb de Provence, orange zest and orange juice and incorporate. Add the flour mixture and mix briefly on very slow speed, just until a dough forms.

Divide the dough in half and set each half over a long sheet of plastic wrap. Bring the long edges of the wrap lightly over the dough and squeeze and shape the dough until you get a uniform 12" long by 2 1/4 inch wide x 1 inch deep rectangle of dough. Repeat with the other half of the dough which may not exceed 12 inches in length.

Seal the plastic wrap around each portion of the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove one of the dough bars from the refrigerator and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange cookies slightly apart on cookie sheets that have been lightly coated with vegetable spray. (Or use a sillpat)

Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes, rotating pans at the halfway point to ensure even browning.

Remove from the oven, loosen each cookie with a thin spatula and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes on the pan. Remove cookies from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Store airtight in layers, separated by wax paper rounds, in a cookie tin, in a cool, dry place. These cookies improve with age. They keep for 3 to 4 weeks.

Shortly before serving (up to a couple of days), in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, orange juice, orange zest and Herb de Provence. Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and place on a wire rack to let the glaze set. If the glaze is too thick, thin with orange juice, one drop at a time. If it is too thin, whisk in additional sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Can be stored in layers, separated by wax paper rounds, in a cookie tin, in a cool dry place.

Herb de Provence Mix

1 T. dried thyme

1 T. dried rosemary

1 T. dried summer savory

1 T. dried lavender

In a small bowl, combine the herbs. Store airtight in a cool dry location. Makes 1/4 cup.


Tricia said...

Oh, my, those cookies sound divine! My daughter is here visiting, and when I read her the recipe, she said, "We must try those!" Thank you!

From the Kitchen said...

I'm so glad you took the "thyme" to post on your herbs this afternoon. I'm off to my favorite nursery tomorrow--it's a ways out in the country from Chicago--to purchase thyme, rosemary (I did overwinter a Smith and Hawken topiary), parsley, sage, lots of basil, and others. My favorite farmer is also picking fresh asparagus for my 10 a.m. pickup. I love spring--and your dogeared herb book!


Peg said...

You are going to have to post more herb recipes this summer. I like growing herbs but it seems that I don't use them nearly as much as I should. So... inspire me!

Love the thymely strawberry jar!

Blondie's Journal said...

Thanks for the recipe and the mix for Herb of Provence. Glad your class went well. The cookies look delicious!


Bernideen said...

This looks fasinating and what a lovely display! I would have loved your class!

Cass @ That Old House said...

This post was right on THYME! I'm deciding what herbs to plant this year; I had thyme and basil and rosemary and dill last year. Miss Rosemary is still in her pot, indoors for the cold months.

I've used dried Herbes de Provence but never realized Lavender was in it! OH I have a lavender plant that has overwintered well in the border.

I love your "prairie" info -- it sounds so exotic to me!

Lorrie said...

Yum! I'll have to try these. Thank you!

Thyme is my favourite winter herb. Basil for summer. Although I use them both all year round. I just planted some lemon thyme and am looking forward to using that once it takes off. Luckily, most herbs winter well here.

Beth said...

Lovely display! I never know what to do with herbs - you have inspired me...I do have lavender and sage growing in my garden...
Blessings, Beth

Marigene said...

Those cookies sound delicious being orange is my favorite flavoring. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Red Couch Recipes said...

I do so like having my basil, rosemary and cilantro in my kitchen garden. Your cookies sound yummy! Joni

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

What wonderful cookies -- they look wonderful!

Al said...

Thanks for the recipe

Pondside said...

These look delicious! Good luck with the class!

Maria@ChicaBellaCrafts said...

That looks delicious! thanks for the recipe. Your herb pot is very nice, I love having fresh herb in my garden. I really enjoyed reading the post about how you met your house, you have a beautiful home. Hope your having a wonderful week.

Johanna Gehrlein said...

Hi, I will try them also. I have lots of thyme in my garden and I love orange flavour. Sounds ideal for me.
Thank you for sharing of such a delicious recipe.
Greetings, Johanna

*Ulrike* said...

I love herbs and that sounded so interesting! I just got a jar of Herbs de Provence from my aunt so I made a note to come back and look at your recipe. Sounds yummy!

Lia at Petite Little Bee said...

What a beautiful post, I love herb gardens too.

This Belle Rocks said...

Wow, I will have to try that recipe one of these days. I bet it will make my whole house smell lovely while the cookies bake in the kitchen :)

I love the idea you had for a tablescape, too. I'm trying to come up with ideas for my own so that I can participate, too, but seem to have a lot of trouble thinking outside the box!