Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

I wanted to made something special for the Season 4 Premier of Downton Abbey.  For the finale one year, it was Sheppard’s Pie but I was feeling like I needed something to go with a spot of tea. 

Shortbread cookies.

I bought some dried lavender at the whole foods store so I decided it would be a smashing additive to the cookies.  I wanted to tint them with a bit of purple but younger daughter nixed that idea. 

She's no fun. 
If you can get past the fact that lavender smells like hand lotion, an underwear drawer sachet, or a meditation candle, it does add a subtle zip to your goodies, especially homemade ice cream.  Lavender tastes like the mishmash of mint, rosemary and pepper and works equally well in sweet treats as it does in savory dishes.  Some herbes de Provence mixtures include lavender, along with its botanical buddies, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano.

The last time I made shortbread cookies (for the Season 3 Premier), I used lemon thyme and made them in squares. 
This time, I resurrected my heart-shaped cookie cutter.  Aren’t they pretty?

Oh, and I finally got to use my vintage rolling pin.

Lavender Shortbread 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

Using a food processor, a blender, or a mortar and pestle, grind the sugar and lavender petals together.

In the bowl of a standing mixer outfitted a paddle beat the butter until smooth and then add the lavender sugar and continue to beat, at low speed, until smooth. 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 it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thick circle; cut out cookie shapes with a round, 2-inch diameter cutter.  I used a heart shaped cutter.  While rolling this dough, I found it to be a little crumbly and I had to reshape it a few times.   Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes before baking.  Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 300 degree oven just until the sides of the cookies begin to color, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.  Makes about 24, 2” cookies.

The original recipe calls for decorating the cookies with a sugar glaze and sprinkling with lavender buds…it’s the dead of winter (4° when I wrote this post) and the lavender buds are a few months away.

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