Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Inspiration can be surprising and happy–and years in the making.  Even for something simple like a (Lemon Lavender Shortbread) cookie.

Lemon Lavender Shortbread

Lemon Lavender Shortbread

This particular idea began two summers ago, when my oldest had a summer job at a natural restaurant (the Wild Tomato) in a local tourist town.   One day, after a lovely summer lunch, we I split a lemon lavender cupcake and were enraptured.  The goal of developing my own lavender dessert went right on my “to do” list.

When Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations did her 2011 picnic game I recognized a golden opportunity.   If I could just get the letter L, I would have a deadline!  Three failed recipes later, I used limes…

This year Claire of Promenade Plantings did a lavender shortbread.  That set the wheels turning again.  This time (though not until my second attempt), I was successful!

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookie

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookie

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

(Makes about 9-12 cookies, consider doubling if you are not dieting 😉 )

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 1/3 c flour
  • 1 T lavender
  • 1/4 t lemon zest

Directions

1.  A day (or more) ahead of time, infuse the lavender into the sugar.  Combine the two in a sealed container and let sit overnight for the sugar to pick up the lavender flavor.  (I believe that this is one of the things that went wrong in some of my earlier attempts.  It gets you more lavender flavor using less lavender which can have a bitter edge if you overdo it)

Infuse Sugar

Infuse Sugar

2.  On baking day, cream the butter and lavender sugar mixture.  Add the lemon zest.

3.  Blend in the flour a little at a time.  If you are using a cookie stamp, be careful not to overmix.

Blend in Flour

Blend in Flour

4.  To form the cookies, there are a couple possible methods.  For the easiest one, press the shortbread into a 8 or 9 inch square pan and pack down.  For a slightly dressier cookie using a cookie stamp, form a piece of dough into a one inch ball, then flatten with a cookie stamp.  Or you can even combine the two methods.

Stamp Cookies

Stamp Cookies

Shortbread in pan

Or Pat in Pan

Stamped Shortbread

Or Combine Techniques

5. Bake cookies at 325 for 15-20 minutes until just starting to brown.  Shortbread molded in a pan will need to go longer, approximately 30 minutes.

Lavender is a flower that is used regularly as a culinary herb.  Claire grew her own lavender (!) while mine came from Frontier Herbs, where I order most of my herbs and spices (through one of my buying clubs).  Lavender essential oil– and sometimes the flower petals–is used frequently in natural bodycare preparations like soaps and lotions, and my youngest declared that my first recipe “tasted like soap” though the adults like it.  For the final version, I cut down the lavender and added lemon zest, and it passed muster all around.

The cookie stamps, from Rycraft, are a cute idea, though I am still working on getting the technique right.  My first recipe (which I even took off the company website) had too much butter so there was no design left after baking.  I looked for a new recipe with more flour and had more luck (designs were actually slightly better than in the photographs).  Next time I think I’ll chill the dough after I mix it and again after I press the cookies to try for a design that is even crisper.

I’ll definitely have occasion to bake soon.  My oldest (co-discoverer of the inspirational cupcake) has asked me to send her a batch at college for her birthday.  I guess I owe her that!

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23 thoughts on “Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

  1. Kathy

    Can you really taste the lavender, Inger? I was just reading someone else’s blog–maybe last week?–and they said they couldn’t taste the lavender very much in whatever baked good they sampled. I think this sounds really good!

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      I had that problem before I tried infusing the sugar first. I think infusing spreads the taste through the ingredients better. In earlier lavender attempts, I just increased the lavender which resulted in more bitterness (my lavender tea was just nasty, though a lovely pink). I am a very much a trial and error cook!

  2. Louise

    I just knew you would attempt a Lavender Shortbread recipe again, Inger. It was just a matter of time. They do look heavenly and as you say, shortbread is such FUN!

    I lost my lavender bush early this year and believe me, I do miss it. It was growing so nicely and then “poof” it was gone. I suppose I should look into Frontier Herbs I really need to stock up on some Herbs & Spices. As a matter of fact, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I may be buying a lot more ingredients online since there are so many things I just can’t seem to find in central PA. Are you happy with Frontier?

    Thanks for sharing and persevering…

    P.S. I’ve read that a pinch of thyme enhances the lavender taste without the “soapiness.” Although, I’ve never tried infusing the flowers in sugar. Noted!

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      Thanks for the tip on the thyme! I do like Frontier–I buy most of my herbs & spices in 1 lb bags and just give extras away with the bulk cost advantage. Also get shampoo, soaps etc through them. You can form a “buying club” just by filing an application with them and this will get you about a good discount. I usually go in with a couple of others because if the order is $250, even shipping is free.

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  5. lynn

    Yum, yum, yum! I’m going to have to try these, too, Inger. Shortbread is so good, and I can imagine with lavender it is even better. I have read that chocolate and lavender is a nice combination . . . have you ever tried that? And too bad your lemon-lavender tea didn’t work. That sounds great in theory. I have my share of failures in the kitchen, too, even though I’m not as inventive as you and usually use recipes. My flops category is here
    http://queenofthecastlerecipes.blogspot.com/search/label/flops
    Thanks for all your lavender inspiration 🙂

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