Fennel and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Not too fennely. Just the right sweetness. 
The Neighbor has a lovely garden. In the garden grows fennel among many other things. The Neighbor being the kind woman that she is allows me to pinch things here and there. She also will feed my kitties when I leave town for a fun weekend.

I offer to pay her in cookies. She enjoys shortbread, any shortbread is good, but something with difference is welcome.

I put these together.

Fennel & Lemon Zest Shortbread

1 cup butter
0.5 cup powdered sugar
0.25 cup cornstarch
1.50 cup flour
1 teaspoon fresh fennel seed, plus twenty for decorating (or used dried ones and do what you can to grind them)
0.50 teaspoon lemon zest
0.50 teaspoon sea salt

more sea salt for sprinkling-big crystal sugar for sprinkling too.

In a stand mixer cream the butter. Add the sugar. Blend well. Mince the fennel seeds and zest as finely as you can. If you sea salt it big, add it to the cutting board with the seeds and zest and make it smaller too. To the butter and sugar mixture add the remaining ingredients. Run the mixture stopping the scrape the sides. Keep the machine running until the dough comes together.  It will look like it will not, but magically it does! Don't look away and stop the machine as soon as the dough as cohesive. If it runs too long you'll get tough cookies.

On a parchment lined pan scoop (I use 0.75 ounce) the dough. It makes twenty cookies. Using the bottom of a glass, dipped in flour, your hand or other flattish thing (I actually used a large measuring spoon to get the cookies pictured with the cutie meadow in the middle look) flatten the cookies. Put a fennel seed in the center of each. It's pretty but it also says, "this is a special cookie." Put a few grains of salt on top and some big sugar.

So pretty.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Put them on a fancy plate or in a baggie and give half to your neighbor. The other half are for you. I mean who gives away a full batch of cookies, ever?