These cookies make me think of a few things.
They make me think of summertime. The shortbread is lemony and light. The toasted coconut gives an added sensation of sunshine. The basil buttercream embraces this season's produce, especially since this particular batch of buttercream used basil grown from Cassie in our very own apartment.
They also make me think of hugs. Hugs that you give to friends, fun and cheerful. Maybe it's just the golden color of the cookies. Or it might be how the basil buttercream is nestled in between delicious, buttery shortbread. It might also be also partly from the beautiful flowers in the photos, which were a spontaneous and beautiful surprise from Andrew last Friday.
These cookies also make me think of how happy I get when I take a moment to relax, breathe, and get in the kitchen. How content I feel when I'm just thinking of nothing else besides how am I going to make the next batch more delicious, or what can I do to make these little nuggets extra special (cue basil buttercream). As cheesy as this sounds, it reminds me to stop and soak in the little things that make my life extra special.
So that's what these cookies are to me. Little reminders. Ones that are sort of like grown up Oreos, slightly more sophisticated than your average chocolate sandwich cookie, but still deliciously addicting.
This weekend, remember to take time for yourself and be happy for the little things.
Lemon toasted coconut basil buttercream cookie sandwiches
For the shortbread
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
For the buttercream
3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cups unsalted butter, slightly softened but still sturdy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, process coconut until finely chopped. Add the coconut to a large mixing bowl.
Add flour and sugar to the bowl, and mix. Add the lemon extract and vanilla extract to the bowl and mix.
Add the pieces of butter to the bowl and mix with an electric mixer (dough will appear dry). Knead the dough a little with your hands to make a less crumbly dough. If it is still to dry at this point, add a tablespoon of water and make the dough into a disc.
Flatten the disc slightly and wrap in cellophane wrapping. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
After chilling, lay out the dough on a floured surface and roll until 1/4" thick. Using a small cookie cutter (I used a shot glass), cut the dough into round circles and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies at 325 F for 20 minutes, or until slightly golden. Cool on a cooling rack completely.
To make the buttercream, heat up your basil, flour, sugar, and milk in a saucepan until it starts to simmer, then add in the flour and cornstarch and whisk until it thickens (about 10 minutes). Remove the basil, squeezing to get the basil "juice" into the mixture. Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with an electric mixer on high until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated.
To assemble the sandwiches, lay half of the cookies flat side up and pipe on the buttercream. Top each cookie with one of similar size. These can be eaten right away (highly recommended) or stored in an airtight container for 3-5 days.