Process basil and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor until blended.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well. Add lemon juice and egg, beating until blended. Gradually add flour and basil mixture, beating until blended.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Garnish, if desired.
* Plain fresh basil leaves may be substituted for lemon-basil leaves.
Made these for an Herb Club, and liked them so much that I shared the recipe with a cousin known for her baking. They became her favorite cooky. The recipe can be made with whatever basil you have in your garden, with subtle difference of flavor. I've made with lemon basil on several occasions, and genovese or sweet basil on others.
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