Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb (Hardie Grant, 2018) by Hayley McKee shows readers that vegetables and desserts can indeed be a winning combination. In almost 60 recipes, McKee mixes veggies into her unique desserts to give you a healthy and delicious treat, while showing you how to harness the most flavor from every vegetable. The following excerpt is her recipe for green and white cookies.
NYC’s famous black and white cookies get a garden makeover. These cake-like cookies are iced with an apple blossom rocket ganache on one side and a traditional lemon icing on the other. Carry them straight to the coffee table for a chorus of ‘oooohs’.
• 15 grams (1/2 ounce/ 1/4 cup) English spinach, stems removed
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 170 grams (6 ounces) unsalted butter
• 230 grams (8 ounces/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
• 2 eggs
• 125 milliliters (4 fluid ounces/ 1/2 cup) buttermilk
• 375 grams (13 ounces/2 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
• 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
• 1 teaspoon salt
Apple Blossom Rocket Ganache
• 10 grams (1/4 ounce/ 1/2 cup) apple blossoms, plus extra to decorate (optional)
• 85 milliliters (2 3/4 fluid ounces) thick (double/heavy) cream
• 20 grams (3/4 ounces/1 cup) rocket (arugula), finely chopped
• 225 grams (8 ounces) white chocolate, broken into chunks
• 4 teaspoons milk powder
• 185 grams (6 1/2 ounces/1 1/2 cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar
• 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
• 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1–2 tablespoons water
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (345 degrees Fahrenheit). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Blanch the spinach in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and leave to cool, then finely chop.
3. Add the blanched spinach, vanilla and 70 grams (2 1/2 ounces) of the butter to a bowl and blitz using a hand-held mixer until combined. Transfer the green butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment together with the sugar and remaining butter and beat on high speed until voluminous, about 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs one by one, then gently fold in the buttermilk, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt to form a batter.
4. Scoop out tablespoons of the batter and dollop them onto the prepared baking tray, leaving around 5 centimeters (2 inches) between each mound of batter to allow for spreading. With slightly wet fingers, pat and shape the batter mounds into circles, then transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. While the cookies are cooling, make the ganache. Add the apple blossoms and cream to a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and set aside to steep. Blanch the rocket in 250 milliliters (8 1/2 fluid ounces/1 cup) boiling water until tender and bright green, then drain and push the warm rocket through a fine-mesh sieve to draw out a green water. Strain the infused cream into a bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water, discarding the blossoms. Add the white chocolate and 40 ml (1 1/4 fluid ounces) of the rocket water and melt gently over a medium heat, stirring, until completely smooth. Whisk in the milk powder to combine.
6. Using a butter knife or a small metal spatula, spread a layer of ganache evenly over one half of each of the cooled cookies. Repeat until the ganache is thick and you can’t see the cookie underneath. If you like, scatter a few apple blossom petals over the ganache covered side of the cookies to decorate.
7. To make the icing, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth, then spread the icing over the other half of the cookies to finish. Leave to set before serving.
While you have the buttermilk out for this recipe, make your very own moss. Grab 250 milliliters (8 1/2 fluid ounces/1 cup) of buttermilk and blitz it together with a piece of found moss, then paint the mixture around shaded areas of your garden wherever you’d like a splash of emerald – on rocks, fences, concrete planters, even tree trunks. For the first few weeks spritz your baby moss using a mister filled with equal parts buttermilk and water to keep it moist and to encourage growth.