I recently participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and made and traded delicious cookies with other food bloggers across the nation. I sent a dozen lavender shortbread cookies to three other bloggers in Arizona, Oregon, and New Mexico!
In return I received a dozen cookies each from three other established food bloggers. They were not poisoned, as some of my friends might think of receiving food packages in the mail. Perhaps it lent an extra thrill to that first bite, the ironic demise to my baking blogging. Yet here I sit, drinking my morning coffee, unscathed after the previous week of confectionary indulgences. I guess the white powder on the mexican wedding cookies wasn't anthrax after all... In all honesty, the fellow bloggers were so creative and thoughtful, and I have some great new food blogs to add to my blogroll. Here is my recipe for lavender shortbread, which is totally delicious and is perfect with a cup of tea!
I took the original recipe and upped the lavender, so these have a more present lavender aroma. If you are worried about making cookies that taste like soap don't worry- the lavender pairs well with the shortbread, and it has a well rounded taste- a little buttery, sweet, and aromatic (especially coming out of the oven).
adapted slightly from Joy the Baker
makes about fifty cookies
3 slightly rounded tablespoons of dried lavender blossoms
1/2 Cup granulated sugar (or raw turbinado sugar)
1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
As you can see, shortbread doesn't have many ingredients- sweet! However, with less ingredients you want to make sure you use high quality ingredients. If you can, try using the best butter you can get- grass-fed butter has a great flavor that will knock your socks off.
You can find dried lavender blossoms at many health food stores (in the bulk section), or at the Whole Body section of Whole Foods, which is where I found mine in Nashville. I love Whole Foods...
In a clean coffee grinder (check out a neat trick to cleaning out your coffee grinder!) grind up all of the lavender with a few tablespoons of sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
Cream butter, ground lavender, and sugar on medium (no higher!) until the butter is lighter in color and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour/salt, and mix on low until it starts to form into a dough. From here use your hands and shape it into a ball of dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and stick in the refrigerator until it is chilled, at least thirty minutes.
Prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350F.
Take dough and let rest for 15 minutes on counter to make it more manageable, then divide into four sections. One section at a time, roll dough out into 1/4 inch thickness. I couldn't find my cookie cutters so I used a long knife to cut squares out. Use a fork to make indents in the cookies, then place on a plate in the refrigerator to chill again. You want the cookies to be cold going into the oven so that they retain their shape as they bake. If you put warm or room temperature cookies into the oven the liquid in the butter will start to steam more quickly, and the cookie will not hold it's shape as nicely.
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until they are slightly browned on the bottom. When they are done place them on a cookie rack and keep going! Resist. the. urge. to eat... well honestly, they're great warm, and great cold : ). Just don't burn yourself! Once cool you can dip them in melted chocolate, and enjoy with a glass of milk. To be honest, after experimenting with different amounts of chocolate, I prefer the cookies without chocolate. The lavender flavor showcases better without it, even though they are gorgeous with a drizzle of chocolate. Alternatively, you could drizzle/brush a lemon glaze over them (2 cups of confectioners sugar with three to four tablespoons of fresh lemon juice).