Rosewater Sugar Cookies
The other day, I ran across a new bakery here in town (I know, I didn’t think it was possible here in the land-o-bakeries!). I walked in and it was amazingly cute. Cute to the point of redundancy, actually. Given, it was their first day open and things were in perfect order–but I mean, it was a little eerie. The baked goods were stacked perfectly in their cases, all of which were vintage and refurbished, and the glass was gleaming like a Windex commercial. Mind you, these are all things I thought about AFTER I purchased my goodies. I had my eye on the prize–the sweet prize that is. Whenever I find a new bakery, first I have to order three things. It gives me a good overview in their talents. Second, after I’ve purchased, I take a look around. What’s the ambiance like? How does this place make me feel? Rarely do I eat my purchases in the new bakery, I have to take them home to taste each one without distraction–and share with whoever is around or comes by that day and get their opinion too :). I get curious!
That day, I brought home a poppy seed cupcake with lavender frosting, a lemon blueberry scone, and a rosewater sugar cookie. They must have been worried about last minute preparations for the opening because the cupcake was like cardboard (although the frosting was interesting), the scone was under cooked (not fun biting into a large chunk of dough), and the sugar cookie was bland—but it got me thinking. Rosewater sugar cookies? This could be really good. So I set off to find another recipe and try them myself. Oh, and not that this usually matters, but it turns out this was a vegan bakery. I totally have a soft spot for vegan cupcakes, they are generally more moist and all around scrumptious–but bad vegan baked goods make that little voice in my head come out and yell–see! baked goods SHOULD have eggs, butter, and cream in them! Not all the time, I tell it, but this time I agree.
It turns out that Rosewater Sugar Cookies were a holiday tradition in old Germany–like around the early to mid 19th century. The Christmas cookie tradition we have here in the states originates from the German tradition of making a variety of delicate cookies called Plätzchen. They use rosewater not only in these sugar cookies, but also in marzipan. I always think of rosewater as a middle eastern ingredient or something you eat in the late spring (probably because that’s when roses are blooming). But it makes sense that rosewater would be busted out for the holidays–it probably took the previous six months to steep and make it, not to mention how special it probably was. I love learning about this stuff!
I guess you just never know what stumbling onto a new bakery will do and what kind of domino effect it may have ;). I made these cookies as gifts and I think they tasted excellent. Light but with that perfect, buttery, shortbread crumble and the aroma of rosewater, these will be added to my collection for sure!
1 stick butter or margarine
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp lemon extract (optional)
1 1/2 tsp rose water extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups flour
Beat in yolk and extracts to blend.
Mix baking soda into sour cream and mix well with other ingredients. and flour
Mix with a spoon by hand to mix well
The dough is beautiful to handle.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and cut out your cookies as you would for sugar cookies
Place on baking sheets a few inches apart.
-Make Rosewater Sugar topping-
I put a couple of tablespoons of white sugar into a jar, sprayed a couple of times the rosewater over it, and added just a tiny hint of pink food coloring. Then I shook the hell out of it to mix the sugar with the coloring and the rosewater. I lightly patted the sugar onto each cookie, then placed them on the pan to bake.