My sister and I went to visit our aunt and uncle in Ottawa a few weeks ago, so I went on a little adventure to bring them a nice hostess gift. My father’s side of the family enjoys good food, so I was looking to bring them a few tasty treats. One of the things I ended up giving them was a small package of lavender shortbread cookies. We had them with tea during our stay and they were fantastic — buttery, sweet, and floral.
Of course, when I find a recipe that I like, you can bet that I’m going to try to recreate it in my own kitchen. I approached these cookies in similar fashion to the way I make my tea-infused shortbread cookies (see recipes here and here). That is, I “steeped” the lavender in the melted butter before incorporating the rest of the dough ingredients. I wanted to make sure the lavender flavour would come out through the cookie base, which is akin to a sugar cookie.
Make sure that you use culinary lavender for this recipe — unless you grow your own lavender plants, in which case, I have to say I am rather jealous. If you are purchasing your lavender, however, you do want to make sure it is safe to eat. Some health food stores and tea shops sell dried culinary lavender in bulk, so you can buy only what you need at a reasonable cost.
I brought these to my work staff meeting AND my lab meeting this week, and they were a big hit all around! These cookies are nice and flaky, quite sweet, but not as heavy as a shortbread cookie, and the lavender really comes through!
I wonder what these cookies would be like with other flowers… I would love to try to make an orange blossom cookie. But really, any cookie with floral notes is just so delicate and pretty! Perfect for a tea party or a dreary spring afternoon.
Buttery Lavender Cookies
makes 4 dozen
1 cup butter
3 tsp culinary lavender
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 375º.
2. Over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Meanwhile, chop your lavender into small pieces — it will look almost ground in some ways, but small “chunks” are also OK. You want to open up the little buds to release the scent of the flower as much as possible.
3. Once the butter has melted, add the chopped lavender and stir. Allow the mixture to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep the heat low, as you don’t want to scald the butter.
4. After the butter has steeped, add it to the sugar, vanilla, egg, and milk, and whisk until combined. The mixture should have a sheen to it.
5. Sift the baking powder and flour into the wet ingredients and stir until a nice sticky dough forms. Spoon the dough onto a greased baking sheet in 1 tsp balls. I used two spoons to form the dough into more shapely balls before placing them on the baking sheet.
6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies have an overall golden brown colour. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a baking rack to cool thoroughly.
7. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea — I think earl grey would complement the lavender rather nicely!