Have you ever baked with herbs? In all my years of trying and editing recipes from chefs from many different areas of the world, I’ve tasted but never actually worked with herbs myself when it comes to baking. Until now.
Whilst researching the many places I long to visit in New Mexico (at this rate we’ll need to stay at least a month or two to fit it all in) I’ve returned to this spot I heard about years ago when I lived there, but was never lucky enough to visit. The Purple Adobe Lavender Farm, sits just about an hour’s drive north of Santa Fe, and between the website and the short video done for Visit New Mexico I am enchanted.
Looking at the carpets of dusty purples waving in the breeze, I can practically smell them from my little box of a home office here in England. The sight alone brought me back to a scent memory I had long since forgotten. When it comes to reliving smells of New Mexico, my head immediately turns towards the autumn and winter with the omnipresent scents of roasting chilies and pinon in the cool, crisp air. And yet come spring time, all you have to do is drive a few miles outside the city (whichever city in New Mexico that may be) to get a burst of lavender and sweet sage mixed in with the dusty smell of earth – the scents of the desert. Just as intoxicating. Just as vital for capturing the essence of New Mexico.
Between the blue corn and the lavender in these cookies, these baked treats taste of the land – not just of the culture but of the earth itself, and the beauty it can produce. Admittedly, these feel less like ‘cookies’ and more towards the savoury biscuit side of things- which really disappointed my children’s expectations when I handed them each a cookie after school. But that just means more for me and my husband, who loved them just as much as I did even without having the olfactory memory revived.
Blue Corn Cookies with Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme
57g or 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
57g or 1/3 cup golden caster sugar
250g or 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
105g, 1 cup blue corn masa – I buy mine from Cool Chile Company
110g, 1 cup plain white flour
1 tablespoon mixture of fresh rosemary, lavender & thyme, picked and finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugars until creamy and smooth. Then add eggs and vanilla and stir.
Separately in a medium sized bowl mix together the blue corn, flour and baking powder.
Slowly pour flour mixture into your wet mixture, stirring until smooth and well combined. Add your herbs and mix once again until well dispersed.
Using a spoon scoop rounds onto a baking tray, lined with parchment paper – making sure not to crowd your trays as cookies will spread as they cook. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 160C/350F.
Let cool for a minute before gently transferring from the baking tray to a wire rack to cool fully.