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.
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
1 cup confectioners sugar, blended with just enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency
By “detach,” I mean “violently rip them off.”
No food processor? Grind the lavender and sugar in a blender.
Put your mortar and pestle to work.
No standing mixer for you? A large bowl and a stout wooden spoon will come to your rescue.
We are mixing at a slow speed in order to avoid beating air into the butter. A properly-made shortbread cookie is deliciously-dense.
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.
If you want square, rectangular, or even heart-shaped cookies, I won’t stop you.
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.
In any event, don’t over-bake. The shortbread tops should not color at all.
Let the cookies cool completely on their baking sheet.
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.
Folks, these cookies are delectable. And delicious. And delightful. Promise me you’ll make them some day.
Here’s the printable:
Easy Lavender Shortbread Cookies
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons fresh lavender buds, or 2 teaspoons dried
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened to room-temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled
- Glaze: 1 cup confectioners sugar blended with just enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency
- Optional for decoration: fresh lavender petals
- Use a food processor or a mortar and pestle to grind the sugar and lavender petals together.
- Put the sugar mixture and butter in the work bowl of a standing mixer that is outfitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at low speed until smooth -- about 2 minutes. 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 for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thick circle. Cut out cookie shapes with a round, 2-inch diameter cutter. Use a flat spatula to transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven just until the sides of the cookies begin to color — 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Top the cookies with the glaze mixture. If desired, sprinkle fresh lavender petals over the cookies.
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