Buttery shortbread cookies are the perfect medium for dried tea leaves, herbs, and flowers; their high fat content easily absorbs flavors. Inspired by spring, with all its blooming flowers, and a friend, who had picked up some dried lavender and wasn’t sure what to bake with it, I took a recipe for earl grey shortbread and swapped in lavender. The cookies are salty, which is a good thing; a bit of salt complements lavender beautifully. Feel free to experiment with your own variations. Next on my list are lemon verbena and rooibos shortbread.
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Claire Robinson’s Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons dried lavender
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1. Place lavender buds in the bowl of a small food processor, and pulse a few times until lavender starts to become powdery around the edges of the bowl (many large pieces will still remain.) Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in lavender and salt. Mix in flour until dough comes together; be careful not to over-mix.
3. Flatten dough and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove dough from fridge and let soften slightly, while remaining cold enough to roll out.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (Or bake in two batches using one baking sheet.) Roll out dough until around 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies with a round, 2-inch cookie cutter; if using other shapes or sizes, adjust baking time accordingly.
5. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Bake for around 10 minutes, until edges and bottoms turn golden; the tops of the cookies should be fairly pale. (You may need to bake the cookies longer, depending on your oven and the size of the cookies.) Let cool on baking sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yields around 33 cookies