photo: sally schneider

Just before Christmas, I posted my best-ever butter cookie recipe: Ethereal Brown Sugar Butter Cookies, along with many variations. The versatile cookie dough recently inspired yet another improvisation on the basic theme. Actually, it’s an improvisation on my Tuscan Herb Salt Recipe, that I then used on the butter cookies, to make a double-improvisation: Brown Sugar Butter Cookies with Thyme-Rosemary-Lavender Salt…

I used the essential Herb Salt method to make a fragrant salt using classic Herbes de Provence: rosemary, thyme and lavender (instead of  the usual garlic, rosemary and sage). After I cut out the raw cooky dough, I sprinkled each disk with some of the aromatic salt, hoping that the combination would make for a subtle, surprising and delicious cookie. It did, and has become a new favorite.

That’s what happens when you start improvising: one idea links and layers with another, until you have improvisations made of improvisations…

The basic method is simple…

photo: sally schneider

Follow the recipe for Ethereal Brown Sugar Butter Cookies. While the dough is chilling, make the Herbes-de-Provence Salt:

Pick the leaves off fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs until you have 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons. Add a pinch of dried lavender flowers. Chop the herbs with about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt until finely minced. Transfer to a small bowl.

As you cut and arrange the cookies on a baking sheet, sprinkle a little of the herb salt onto each one, pressing it in gently. Then bake the cookies as directed.

Of course, you could always add grated Meyer lemon zest to the salt…or mince lavender flowers with sugar for a topping, as Andrea Raisfeld was imagining in a Comment she left.

Related posts: best-ever holiday cookie recipe: ethereal brown sugar butter cookies with many variations
brown sugar butter cookie dough tarts with summer fruit (recipe)
are you an improvisational cook?
‘when life arrives at the door unexpectedly’ (+ lots of ideas for the holidays from canal house cooking 5)
make or buy: fragrant, wildly all-purpose herb saltx

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