Gimme Some Lovin Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

Do you love?

Then you’ll love these Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread cookies. Crumbly texture. Rich buttery taste with just a hint of floral sweetness from deeply red hibiscus blossoms. They scream love, don’t they? But I’ll admit these cookies are little too cute for words. But sometimes the helpless (hapless?) romantic in me pushes through and puts Grumpy Greg in his place. At least there are no ribbons, right?

Because it’s that time of year when we celebrate love. All kinds. So The Table Set decided to dedicate the entire podcast this week to the subject with the new episode Pink Paper Hearts. And just so you know. We don’t just mean hot romantic love. Though we can’t exclude that either. Nope, this week we discuss the platonic as well as the pedantic, as we leave no stone hearts unturned with fun (read hot sexy) ideas to celebrate the holiday.

Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread

Speaking of hot and sexy! The Table Set is joined this week by Kristen (the beloved Cuisinerd) to bring you a decidedly feminine take on this most romantic of holidays. She’s got some ideas we could have never thought of on our own. Who knew Kitchen Karaoke could be so fun (read hot and sexy)? GREG


Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread makes about 42 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 1 c unsalted butter at room temperature 
  • 1/2 c plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 2 T dried hibiscus petals
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped 
  • 2 c cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c raw demerara sugar (if choosing the log option)
  • 1 egg white mixed with one tablespoon water for wash (optional)

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and cream a bit further, just until combined.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the dried hibiscus into a rough, not too uniform powder. Mix it in to the butter mixture followed by, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds, each seperately. At a low speed, mix in the flour until the dough is uniform. It will be quite crumbly. Wrap the dough as a flat disc and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Roll the dough to 1/2 inch thick between two pieces of parchment. Move to a large, flat tray. Alternatively, roll the dough into a 1 1/2 to 2‑inch log and roll the log in demerara sugar, wrap the log in plastic wrap. Freeze the rolled out dough on the tray or wrapped log for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Remove the dough from the freezer and peel off the top layer of parchment. Cut into desired shapes using cookie 1 to 2‑inch cutters such (stars for the Holidays, hearts for Valentines day etc).  Or slice the demerara crusted log into 1/2‑inch slices. While still frozen, space the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 an inch of space between cookies. Lightly brush the cookies with the well-mixed egg wash for a shiny look, optional.

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets and bake the cookies for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, until evenly golden brown.

Note: Dried hibiscus can be found in some Latin and Asian specialty markets. Dried rose petals (or hibiscus) from your own garden could be substituted.

Source: Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread adapted from Peels Restaurant & Bakery NYC

Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread