After numerous compliments and requests for her lavender shortbread, Sondra Wells decided to take her craft to the next level with Botanical Bakery. Soon, she'll even add Thai chili and gluten-free varieties to the roster of flavors of unusual, buttery Garden Shortbread cookies filled with aromatic herbs, spices, fruits and cacao nibs.
Each cookie starts with three organic ingredients: hard red wheat flour (unbleached), fresh-churned, 85-percent-sweet-cream butter and pure cane sugar. From there, the Napa Valley, California-based baker adds exotic flavors we've certainly never seen in a simple shortbread.
We tried the fennel pollen, which stands out for its delicate flavor. Filled with the tiny, hand-picked blossoms of the wild pollen, the golden shortbread tastes like honey and licorice. On every Botanical Bakery package, you'll find suggested pairings with tea, coffee and wine—for fennel pollen, we went with a warm cup of Intelligentsia Le Perla de Oaxaca. The combination of the coffee's milk chocolate and blackberry notes and the mild sweetness of the fennel pollen was spot-on.
Currently, Botanical Bakery makes Garden Shortbread in seven unexpected, sweet-meets-savory varieties. (Cinnamon Basil also disappeared quickly from the CH office.) Pick up a box online for $7.