Saturday, January 29, 2011

Orange Hibiscus Shortbread Hearts


I often buy ingredients I see in the grocery store that are interesting to me thinking I am going to find some creative way in which to use them, and they end up sitting in my cupboard for a while because I get too busy or forget about them.  Usually some sort of spice I hadn't heard of before, or in this case, some dried hibiscus flowers.  I had been standing in the bulk spice section in the natural foods store I work in, looking for some other spice, when the hibiscus flowers caught my eye.  I had enjoyed them in tea before, but never any other way, and they intrigued me, almost calling my name to buy them and make something creative and tasty.  I thought maybe steep them in some coconut milk and make ice cream, as it was summer.  Ok, so I had good intentions, but I admit...that creative recipe had yet to be made as of this yesterday.  That is until today. 


I decided to use them in shortbread along with some orange, a flavor I have come to love in the last couple weeks due to the abundance of citrus available.  I decided to add a girly touch to these cookies, so I cut them into mini hearts and sprinkled them with pink sugar.  Because everyone knows cute cookies taste better...well not really, but no harm in looking good. 


From start to finish this shortbread came together very quickly, and I was enjoying it within the hour I started making it with my morning coffee!  It had wonderful fruity flavor with the hibiscus flowers and the zippy orange zest.  The crunchy sweet and slight saltiness of the shortbread was melting in my mouth.  They would have actually been great with sorbet...if it wasn't winter.  Here is the recipe if you would like to try something a little different.  Dired hibiscus flowers aren't just for tea!


Orange Hibiscus Shortbread Hearts
Makes 40

2 sticks Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract
1 Tbsp orange zest
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
pink sugar, or turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack set in the center. Mix all shortbread ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended, then between 2 sheets of parchment paper roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Use a small heart cookie cutter to cut out hearts, then sprinkle with pink sugar and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and bake for about 10-12 minutes until set and lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack.







15 comments:

  1. These are adorable! Great presentation.

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  2. These are so so cute! Nicely done Amy!!!

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  3. These are the prettiest cookies! I don't think I've ever seen hibiscus outside of tea before, I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for them.

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  4. Lovely heart shaped cookies :) it's really interesting to make cookies with hibiscus :)

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  5. I am not used to hibiscus flowers in cooking- looks really great!

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  6. WOW! almost all your recipes go into my folder and i know i have a backlog here...so creative of you...perfect snap and great recipe...flagging this as usual

    chk out my latest post for some striking photos!

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  7. Hmmmm. Hibiscus and orange, lovely combo! Totally with you about having something unusual in the cupboard and it gets forgotten about...
    These shortbread hearts look beautiful.

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  8. I love, love, love this post and recipe. I shop the same way too - I really enjoy trying new and interesting ingredients and hibiscus would be one of them. These cookies are gorgeous and I can't wait to try making them. Thanks so much!!

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  9. What a great addition to shortbread cookies! I'll have to remember to make these the next time I do little girl tea party afternoon with my niece!

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  10. So pretty. Hibiscus is a neat ingredient. I've never actually considered it outside of the tea zone. ;) Very creative.

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  11. I do the same thing (purchase random exotic items and never use or wait forever). Hibiscus and citrus is brilliant, good call.

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  12. Sounds delicious! And I love the pink sugar :D

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  13. These are so sweet! Love love Love the orange zest - great job!

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  14. These look gorgeous. My daughter's just asked if i will make some for her birthday. :)
    One question, I live in Australia and we don't get Earth Balance here. What quantity is 2 sticks of Earth Balance (so I can substitute for another vegan margarine)?
    Thanks ,
    Nina

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