Cookbook Review + Recipe: Home Made, by Yvette bon Boven

There are a few things that, without fail, can make a bad day just a little bit better. Fresh flowers (hint, hint). Elvis Presley. And, of course, baked goods.

So when last week proved to be anything but my week, I came home and baked. I didn't have a proper baking-only cookbook at the time (I've since acquired two), so I flipped through cookbooks I already owned to find something to satisfy my baking urge. I landed on Home Made, a cookbook I reviewed last fall for Shelf Awareness' cookbook issue.

The beauty of Home Made lies in its simplicity; these are not recipes that incorporate the latest food trends, or fancy cookware, or even multiple ingredients. This is simple, down-to-earth cooking of the home made variety. It's like eating Grandma's food, only with the pride of knowing you made it yourself.

The Rosemary Shortbreads contained herein are no exception. The recipe that follows is my own modified version (for Lemon Rosemary Shortbreads), based on the original recipe from Home Made. They're simple, low-effort, and crumbly delicious.

1.25 sticks of butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp honey
1.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 pinches of salt (I prefer Kosher)
2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Grease a cake pan, pie pan, springform pan, or any other pan that has a large lip and is roughly 25 square inches. I used a 7x4 Pyrex dish and it worked wonderfully.

Beat the butter, sugar and honey together with a stand mixer, hand mixer, or (god forbid) a whisk. (Note: if you are using a whisk, that part where I said this is easy and low-effort was a lie.) Stir in (or beat at low speed) all other ingredients except the lemon juice and zest.

Taste. (Don't worry, there are no raw eggs, so it's perfectly safe to eat this batter raw.) Add lemon juice until the dough is a thick consistency (think of something that can be easily rolled into a ball). Don't overdo it - you don't want a sticky mess. Add lemon zest to taste.

Dump (not pour or glop -- the verb choice is intentional here to better illustrate what kind of dough you're looking for) the mixture into your greased pan, and press down into the corners to form an even layer across the bottom. Prick with a fork throughout. Cut into cookie-size pieces before baking.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges are a light golden brown. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then re-cut along the lines you made in the raw dough. Remove cookies gently (I warned you they were crumbly), cool completely on a wire rack.



Home Made | Yvette van Boven | Stewart, Tabori and Chang | Hardcover | 432 pages | September 2011 | Buy from an independent near you

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