Easy Lavender Shortbread Cookies

June 26, 2013

YESTERDAY, I clipped several blossoms from my lavender plants. Then I added the perfumed petals to a standard, three-ingredient shortbread dough. The result of this mad experiment?  Pure deliciousness! Here’s the recipe for these subtly-scented tea-time treats:

A note about lavender. This is one of the easiest herbs to grow.  It flourishes in poor, dry soil, and in full, blazing sun. Lavandula augustifolia ‘Munstead,’ pictured above, grows at the base of my Serpentine Garden. There, it flowers continuously from late June through frost.

All varieties of lavender are edible.

Now, if you can’t get your hands on fresh lavender, you can purchase dried blossoms from online dealers and gourmet shops.  Make sure the product is organic.

A note about Shortbread Dough.  My version of this traditional cookie-dough is as simple as simple can be, for the only ingredients are butter, sugar and flour.  Additives like salt and vanilla are neither necessary nor desirable when the shortbread is to be scented with lavender.

Well. That’s enough note-making for now.  Let’s make these incredible cookies!

Easy Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Ingredients for about 2 dozen, 2-inch diameter cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature
4 teaspoons fresh lavender buds, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled

Optional Adornment:
1 cup confectioners sugar, blended with just enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency
Lavender petals

To start, detach the lavender petals from their stems.

By “detach,” I mean “violently rip them off.”

Then pour one 1/2 cup of sugar into the bowl of your food processor.

Add the lavender petals…

And give them a 30 second spin.

No food processor? Grind the lavender and sugar in a blender.

No blender?

Put your mortar and pestle to work.

Next, drop 2 sticks of butter (softened to room-temperature) into a standing mixer equipped with a paddle attachment.

No standing mixer for you? A large bowl and a stout wooden spoon will come to your rescue.

Add the lavender sugar…

And mix at low- or medium-low speed for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a blue spatula as necessary.

We are mixing at a slow speed in order to avoid beating air into the butter.  A properly-made shortbread cookie is deliciously-dense.

Again at low- or medium-low speed, beat in 2 cups of flour.

Beat until the mixture is smooth — about 2 minutes. No lumps of butter should be visible when you pinch off a bit of dough and form it into a ball with your fingers, as above.

I forgot to take a picture of this next step: Dump the dough onto your work surface, roughly shape it into a disk, wrap the disk in plastic, and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Okay. The above sentence mentioned four steps, not one.

Please forgive me.

Throw some flour on your work surface (which for me is a marble board)…

And then roll the dough into a circle, approximately one 1/4-inch thick.

Cut out 2-inch diameter rounds.

If you want square, rectangular, or even heart-shaped cookies, I won’t stop you.

Tip: To keep the dough from sticking to your cookie-cutter, dip the gadget in flour before each use.

Transfer the cookies to a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet.

Would you believe that I have never owned a Silpat baking pad? It’s sad, but true.

Then again, you can’t use Silpat for making my favorite fish dish: Cod en Papillote.

Back to the cookies: Before baking, chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Bake the biscuits on the middle rack of a preheated 300-degree oven just until their edges begin to color — 25-30 minutes.

In any event, don’t over-bake.  The shortbread tops should not color at all.

Let the cookies cool completely on their baking sheet.

These lavender shortbread cookies are perfectly delicious as is.

But if you want to dress them up — and you certainly don’t have to — just do what I did, and give them a little glaze and a sprinkling of lavender petals.

To make the glaze, whisk together 1 cup of confectioners sugar with just enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency.

Spoon a tiny dollop of glaze atop each biscuit…

And dust them with a tiny amount of lavender petals.

Folks, these cookies are delectable. And delicious. And delightful.  Promise me you’ll make them some day.

Need a copy-and-paste version of the above? Here goes:

Easy Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House
Ingredients for about 2 dozen, 2-inch diameter cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature
4 teaspoons fresh lavender buds, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled

Optional Adornment
1 cup confectioners sugar, blended with just enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency
Lavender petals

Using a food processor, a blender, or a mortar and pestle, grind the sugar and lavender petals together.

In the bowl of a standing mixer outfitted a paddle, beat the lavender sugar and butter at low speed until smooth. Then add the flour and beat until combined. Mixing is complete when there are no visible lumps of butter in the dough.

Form the dough into a rough disk, wrap it in plastic, and chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thick circle; cut out cookie shapes with a round, 2-inch diameter cutter. Using a flat spatula, transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes before baking.

Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 300 degree oven just until the sides of the cookies begin to color — 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Decorate with the optional glaze; sprinkle with lavender petals.

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Related Posts:
Sugar Cookie Tartlets with Lemon Curd Filling
Glazed Apple Tart
Afternoon Tea for You and Me

Comments

  1. Edna G says:

    These do sound heavenly! My husband doesn’t care for the scent of lavender, so I’ll have them all to my self! He he!

  2. Edna G – Yep – enjoy by yourself. Delicious with Earl Grey Tea!

  3. Brenda Johnson says:

    My mouth is watering at the mere thought of these delicious morsels….. they were SO good!!! Buttery and rich, sweet (but not too sweet!) with a nice crunch- yet so tender (How do you do it Kevin?) The subtle fragrance and taste from the lavender is such a pleasant surprise if you’ve never tried it…. I would echo Kevin’s sentiment of “you must try these”! These cookies will impress the toughest cookie critic! (or by all means- treat yourself!- you deserve it!)

  4. Brenda – Thanks so much for taste-testing the cookies. More to come!

  5. Marianne Sievers says:

    These sound scrumptious! Fortunately my local CSA has a bumper crop of lavender this year.

  6. badger gardener says:

    Lavendar and shortbread sounds like a marriage made in heaven : )

    My lavendar is not quite in bloom yet but I will most definitely make these when the flowers open. This reminds me that I need to figure out what I’m doing when it comes to lavendar pruning. My original plant is looking rather awkward from random prunings at random times. In it’s current state the greenery and buds hide the shape, but in Fall/Winter it’s not the prettiest plant in the garden. I think I need to develop a better plan.

  7. Marianne Sievers – You are lucky to have a CSA which offers lavender. Besides shortbread cookies, I’ve used the blossoms to make lavender icing for cupcakes. Intoxicating!

    badger gardener – My lavender looks awful in winter, too. But all is forgiven when fresh growth appears in spring.

  8. Susan in MI says:

    As soon as my lavender blooms will be making these. Too bad I chose a TV instead of a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer with my AmEx points. Woe is me. Still have two arms and a way to mix this dough anyway. Love shortbread and lavender is just the flavor this needs both in and on the top.

  9. Ke'hley says:

    These are so lovely & elegant. I cannot wait to get some organic Lavender to make these and serve them to my special friends with a Pot of Earl Gray Tea. :) Thanks Kevin

  10. andrea says:

    kevin, may we please have these on your next garden walk? perhaps w/a glass of iced tea. :O) please consider doing a cookbook. you are a double threat; wonderful gardener — wonderful cook!

  11. Diane says:

    I’ve made these before. They are wonderful as well as beautiful. My grand daughter and I made them, borrowed the lavender blossoms from a friend and made the cookies for another friend who was ill. Various friendships contributed to the making. Another great recipe……when is your cookbook coming out?

  12. Maggie Harvey-Vinnedge says:

    Lavender cookies, exquisite. I make them with freeze dried ingredients practicing
    my emergency prep skills and guests marvel at them. Grow my own gourmet
    lavender , it’s heavenly.

  13. DianeVar says:

    Kevin, how about lavender extract if you don’t have lavender blossoms? I make my own extract!

  14. Lynne Hammes says:

    A reason to purchase a stand mixer!

  15. Lori G. says:

    As soon as my lavender flowers, I’ll be making these.

  16. Michelle says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I don’t comment very often, but I just had to let you know how much I enjoy your posts every Sunday morning. Your home, garden and recipes are such a visual treat! I think I’ll make the lavender cookies for baby shower in a couple of weeks. Thank you!

  17. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    SPECTACULAR!

  18. Granny Mary says:

    I added a little melted butter and and a few drops of lemon juice ( I do mean a few drops) to my powdered sugar for an extra kick, and then dressed up the cookies with that and a few fresh lavendar flowers

  19. Michele Layne says:

    Kevin everything you makes looks so good but how do you keep in such good shape eating and drinking as you do? You should be the size of a sumo wrestler!

  20. PatinVT says:

    I have made the Scottish version of these with dried lavender, but using fresh sounds delightful and the glaze as an addition sounds yummy. I keep a jar of sugar mixed with dry lavender in my cupboard all the time.

    I also just wanted to say that I look forward to seeing your blog arrive every Sunday…it’s very nicely done.

  21. Shirley says:

    Hummm…I don’t have any lavender, but I do have mint growing everywhere! I wonder how the mint would taste in them? What say you Kevin?

  22. Connie says:

    Kevin, if these cookies are as delightful as the lavender cupcakes I made last year from your recipe, they should be wonderful! It’s on the to-do list!

  23. Diane says:

    I’m allergic to wheat (poor, poor me) but I’m going to add some lavender to my macaroons.

  24. Judy says:

    What a delight for the senses. First the delicious smell of baking cookies then the winter white color, followed by the lavender fragrance and the melt in your mouth texture. Heaven!

  25. It really turned out to be great. I’m curious about the smell of the cookies because the lavender flowers are mixed with them. No doubt about the taste though. I’m sure it’s quite delicious.

  26. Gracie says:

    Oh. My. Goodness.

    These are heavenly. The scent, the appearance, the light crunch & soft middle…. soooo happy I made them!

  27. SproutRobot says:

    This is a wonderful blog and thank you for the delicious cookie experiment! I love lavender. One of our users listed your site as her favorite. We shared your blog on our Facebook.com/sproutrobot page. Happy gardening!

  28. badger gardener says:

    Stupendous cookies! Beautiful to look at and absolutely yummy. I will look forward to this recipe every year when the lavender is in bloom.

  29. Judy, Gracie and Badger Gardener – So glad you tried — and liked — the cookies.

    SproutRobot – Thanks for sharing the word on your FB page. Much obliged.

  30. vicky says:

    Just made these and they are delicious! My biscuits normally don’t work well for some reason, and i had to convert cups to ounces so wasn’t sure how these would turn out, but they are lovely :) thank you for sharing! Now eyeing up the other recipes on here….

  31. Patty says:

    After trying to roll these and get them onto parchment they warmed up too fast and were difficult for me to work with. I found that rolling the dough into a log (in parchment-or you could use waxed paper), refrigerate for 30 min or more, then quickly unroll, cut into slices, and immediately bake on parchment gave a much easier method and better outcome for me. Something is lacking for me in the taste. Maybe a little salt or vanilla is needed to enhance the flavor. I brought mine to work this morning so I’ll see what my co-workers think. Here is my photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201513658032015&l=fcaf7c06f5

  32. Pam says:

    Kevin, thank you for this lovely recipe. The cookies are yummy. Instead of the icing on top, I finished them off by rolling the edges in some melted chocolate. I am trying to save them for a little tea party I am having tomorrow (really a meeting for one of the garden club committees) but it is hard not to eat one every time I pass them in the kitchen. My supply is dwindling quickly. I adore your blog…. not only is it fun to read but it is also useful.

  33. Susan Kalia says:

    Kevin,
    Your recipes are scrumptious but I do have one question: how do you stay so thin?!!

  34. marsha says:

    Thank you Kevin,
    Now that I know how wonderful these are I am excited to bake them for our annual First Presbyterian Victorian Tea.

  35. kim says:

    Kevin, Just dropped by to see what was cooking and found a few recipes ( yogurt and Lavender cookies ) and thought I’d say “Hi ” as well. “Hi! ” kb

  36. Anna-Karin in Sweden says:

    Thanks a million for the instructions! Can’t wait to get started!

  37. Cookies4kds says:

    I just found this site while looking for a lavender cookie recipe, and I am so thrilled with what I find here. The cookes are great, but I would use fresh buds the next time. I am combining a package of cookes along with a jar of of homemade lavender jelly in a cute bag as a gift for each person attending my tea. I have just begun to look at recipes here and am so excited to try some of them. Thanks, Kevin, for such a wonderful blog.

  38. Cookies4kds says:

    I went back to read all the comments on these wonderful cookies, and noticed someone had trouble with rolling the dough. I will pass along a trick that I learned while learning to make fondant decorated sugar cookies. It works great for rolling pie dough and just about anything else that needs rolling out on a floured board. Keep your doughs as chilled as possible in between rolling. Place a large piece of parchment paper on your bread board or surface you are going to roll the dough on. Place the dough on top of this and cover with a large piece of plastic wrap. Now roll out the dough as you normally would, and peel the cut outs, etc. off the parchment. The parchment and plastic wrap can can be used over and over, and you are not adding flour which toughens your dough. This may seem a bit cumbersome at first, but is a snap when you get the hang of it. I hope this trick helps a bit.

  39. October Morris says:

    I love Lavender Cookies! I ran across them at a farmers market in the Franklin NC area and I just fell in love with them. The woman was so pleased at my reaction to her cookies she let me try her Lavender Lemonade for free. Boy was that a total treat. My kids enjoyed my lovely calmness all day, lol. Anyway, I make them now myself, although the recipe I’ve been using is more like a Lavender sugar cookie. I believe her’s was more like a shortbread cookie like your recipe here. Thank you for sharing and i will try this version as well.

  40. Debra Renee says:

    I had lavender cookies once before as part of a dessert plate at a very beautiful restaurant. They were FABULOUS but not as beautiful as your glazed version. I must start searching for a supply of organic lavender so that I can try my hand at these. They are gorgeous!

  41. Kay Drake says:

    I use a similar recipe but like your illustrations and will blend the lavender and sugar this time. I’m not fond of rolling cookies so I make 2 rolled logs, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate. Then it is easy to just slice and bake – cookies are the same size and so much easier and less mess than rolling and cutting.

  42. Laura says:

    I had a delicious lavender lemon cookie at a coffee shop in Chicago, Milk ans Honey. That’s how I found this website, by googling a recipe. Now I’m subscribed and love reading through all the beautiful recipes! Thank you, my husband and all 4 of our kids enjoyed these!!!

  43. Kelly Davie says:

    These cookies are so wonderful! After I made them the first time they quickly became a part of my go-to repertoire. I have a batch in the oven right now for a weekly small group that meets at my apartment – can’t wait til I take them out of the oven! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  44. Kate Wilson says:

    So beautiful! Thank you!

  45. Rose says:

    I love lavender shortbread….same recipe as yours without the topping, but I may give that a whirl next go-round. Thanks, Kevin.

  46. Edward Zabel says:

    Would these work with Gluten free flour?

  47. Janis says:

    wow, Kevin. These cookies are absolutely amazing. I do not use white flour and had to make these with wheat flour. They are amazing. So delicious but not as pretty as yours because of the slightly browned color of the wheat. But the taste and texture. It is a wonderful recipe and so perfect for tea or showers! Thank you so much!!

  48. Ron says:

    These are incredible!

    My Wife made two small changes; she added a little bit more lavender because we love the flavor and in place of water for the icing she used lemonade. The slight lemon flavor in the icing really went great with the lavender.

  49. Donna says:

    Add some very fine lemon zest to the cookie.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2013/06/easy-lavender-shortbread-cookies/ Like this:Like Loading… This entry was posted on Saturday, July 27th, 2013 at 2:24 pm and posted in Recipe. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « How to make lavender sugar [...]

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  3. [...] I discovered something called Lavender Shortbread, and that intrigued me, but I have no idea where to get fresh or dried lavender. Then I was [...]

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  6. [...] And one more for you. My family tried this recipe in late August with fresh lavender flowers from my garden and I am positive I made new friends with this recipe when the children went back to school. We add a bit more lavender then it calls for, and I got my most recent batch of dried leaves from local Savory Spice Shop. I had my daughter and her amazing helper make some Valentine’s Day love for the neighborhood. Enjoy! Erica and Dora recommend using this short-bread recipe from Martha Stewart (marthastewart.com/342398/basic-shortbread). The girls also used this site for accurate lavender measurements since there are variations when you are using dried versus fresh herbs. (agardenforthehouse.com/2013/06/easy-lavender-shortbread-cookies/) [...]

  7. [...] the start of my search, I found this totally amazing recipe for lavender shortbread cookies, made with fresh lavender! How beautifully [...]

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