Monday, December 3, 2007

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Wow, these are cookie heaven! Seriously.. they are really good! These were yet another goodie I made for the bridal shower on Saturday. I actually made these and a batch of regular shortbread (just make this sans lavender).
You can find culinary lavender at natural food stores - check Whole Foods and Jimbo's (I found mine at Jimbo's). I found you can also order it from Penzey's (or just go pick it up if you're lucky enough to live close to one)! If you grow lavender, you can also use it from the garden. Just make sure it is grown organically so you're not adding nasty chemicals to your cookies!
The lavender adds a certain sweetness to the cookies - it works really well with the simple shortbread ingredients - and your kitchen will smell amazing while these bake!

In folklore, lavender has always been linked with love, as has food ;)

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. dried culinary lavender or 2 tbsp. fresh lavender florets

**You may want to try using 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/3 cup light brown sugar for these (or regular shortbread) cookies.**

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes light in colour and very soft and fluffy.

3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the flour
by hand. The dough will be soft.

4. Place a handful of the dough at a time on a lightly floured work surface. Use a floured rolling pin to press out the dough to about 3/8 inch thick. ***Do not use a lot of flour or your shortbreads will be tough which is absolutely not the effect you want! Shortbreads are known for being light.***

5. Cut out the shortbreads using any shape cookie cutter you like (since these were for a bridal tea party, I used a heart shape). With a
spatula, transfer them to the prepared pans, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart (they will not spread, but they do puff a little).

6. Continue in this manner until all the dough has been used. Remember to use very little flour when rolling out the dough so your last shortbread will be as tender as the first.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are just a very pale golden colour. Slide the papers from the pans onto wire racks. Store the cooled cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in an air-tight container.

Wonderful with a cup of hot tea!

*Photo of the regular (no lavender) shortbreads I also made*

This is based on the "Scottish Shortbread" recipe from Nick Malgieri's Cookies Unlimited book.