Poppy Petal Cookies
I have always been drawn to Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings. Their bright colors especially always caught my eye, especially in her depictions of flowers. In college I took inspiration from her and chose to paint large scale fruits and vegetables in the same large blown up style with my own twist of course. Of all of her paintings I am the most drawn to the paintings of poppies. I can remember going to the Weisman Art Museum as a child and seeing her piece Oriental Poppies. That is the painting of hers which I always remember, and my first encounter with her work.
The color in the painting is so beautiful, so this weekend when I wanted to make cookies with poppyseeds in them the paintings and poppy flowers came to mind after a few other thoughts...
Orange poppy seed shortbread was what I intended to make, but for some reason the idea of a boring average shaped cookie wasn't doing it for me. I didn't want circles, or rectangles or squares. This should be fun...the perfect opportunity to use a cookie cutter!
So I rummaged through my drawer and found many cookie cutters, but a flower and a heart were the ones my eye was drawn to. I suppose I could have just used the flower because it was springish...mixed the poppy seeds in and been done with it. But that wasn't what I wanted either.
The heart cookie cutter to me looked like a flower petal, and so I thought, poppy petals! Why not place the poppy seeds at the base of the heart, tint the dough a beautiful shade of poppy and when serving place them together in a circle like a flower! It was a brilliant idea! Now, I know that poppy petals don't look exactly like hearts when picked but hey, use your imagination it is a somewhat abstract piece of food art. So for the dough I wanted it to be extra melt in your mouth thus I added cornstarch to it along with the other dry ingredients. They needed to be extra orange flavored so I went with a good amount of zest as well as orange extract in addition to the essential (in my recipes at least) vanilla. Lastly these needed to have beautiful poppy color so I used my natural food colorings to tint the dough a lovely orangish red. They were adorable even before baking! I sprinkled the tips of the hearts with the poppy seeds for the center of the flower, and the rest with sugar for a sparkle (because i cannot resist sparkle).
A wonderful aroma filled my kitchen as they emerged from the oven, heavenly scents of orange and vanilla! One they cooled and were ready to try I had to sample more than a few. They were buttery and melt in your mouth, citrusy with orange, sweet with vanilla and sugar and crunchy with the poppy seeds. I don't know if Georgia O'Keeffe would consider them art, but it didn't matter, they were delicious! If you would like to enjoy some for yourself, here is the recipe!
Poppy Petal Cookies
(orange poppy seed shortbread cookies)
Makes about 40
2 sticks Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract
2 Tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup maple sugar, or granulated sugar
plant based natural yellow and red food coloring
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp sea salt
black poppy seeds
Mix together butter, vanilla, orange extract, orange zest, sugar, and enough red and yellow food coloring to make the dough orangish red, in a large bowl until well blended add flour, cornstarch, and sea salt and mix until well combined and smooth. Place dough on a piece of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Chill until a little more firm, about 15 minutes, then cut into small hearts. Place hearts on a parchment lined baking sheet, and place poppy seeds at the pointed base of the heart, and sprinkle the rest of the heart with the granulated sugar. Place in the fridge and chill at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until set. Cool on a wire rack.
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