I don't know if my mother taught me this, or if it's something I just figured out on my own at a very young age, but the best way to make friends is with baked goods. Don't believe me? Try bringing a batch of something homemade along the next time you go somewhere and you don't know anyone.
Case in point: I've been enamored by a new sewing and craft shop in Cambridge since the moment I heard about it. Gather Here is, as the name implies, a place where people can get together to work on crafty projects. They have loads of classes and sewing machines that you can rent by the hour, as well as weekly gatherings where all are welcome. Anyone who knows me in real life, and many who know me only through the interwebs, know I'm a crafty person, but I'm especially obsessed with embroidery. And when I learned about Gather Here's weekly Saturday morning gatherings, how could I not attend, stitching in hand? (The piece above, a Tower of Babel meets Supernatural piece, was the one I dragged along.)
Of course, I was headed into a group that, for all I knew, were the best of friends who met every week, so I decided to whip up some cookies too. Hey, couldn't hurt, right? I have a load of basil growing in my garden right now, so I decided an update on one of my favorite recipes was in order.
(By the way, the Saturday morning group at Gather Here is awesome, and I'm looking forward to getting back there when my schedule allows. They also meet every other Thursday evening. And yes, everyone liked my cookies, so at the very least, I had that to talk about.)
Lemon Basil Shortbread
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tsp lemon zest
pinch of salt
Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add in flour, basil, lemon, and salt until combined. Halve dough and shape each half into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper and freeze until firm, at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Place rounds on parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake until edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Do not let the cookies brown, just look for hints of color at the edges.