I bought all of that lavender. I dried it all and picked all of the buds. I made a delicious cocktail with it.
But this is what I was planning on the whole time.
I have this semi-vivid memory of being at a restaurant a long time ago and being served dessert. And whatever the dessert itself was, I remember that it was served with this amazing little rosemary shortbread cookie.
I say semi-vivid because I can still taste that cookie. I crave that cookie. But I can’t really figure out where that memory came from… I sort of remember it being a chocolate dessert. I think it was at a great restaurant in New York.
I think it was with dessert…?
All that’s important is that tiny little cookie.
After making those caramel shortbread cookies a few weeks back, I kind of got on a shortbread kick. I was noticing it everywhere. I loved it’s buttery flavor. I was fascinated with seeing bloggers garnish their versions of the caramels with lavender instead of seasalt. I had never thought to garnish something with dried flowers before.
Plus, I kept trying to place where the heck I experienced this rosemary shortbread cookie.
No use. The details of that memory are gone. I’m trying to just be thankful for the bits and pieces I have locked away to replay over and over…
Mother’s Day was coming up, and I decided that I wanted to send something sweet and little home to all the mothers that are so special in my life back on the east coast. My mother and extended mothers are always so supportive of what I do here on the blog. They are constantly commenting on the drool my recipes inspire from across the country, so I wanted to give them a little taste of what I am always working on.
I decided on toying around with that cookie obsession a little and used those gorgeous little purple buds I’d so diligently picked to make a Mother’s Day treat.
I was kind of afraid the cookies would come out tasting like soap or some other body ointment from a lotion store at the mall. Or that the buds would be dry and crunchy and weird. But if I wasn’t going to send actual flowers to all the moms, I thought cookies with flowers in them had to be just as good.
I also decided that I had to try my hand at the rosemary version since I couldn’t get it off my mind.
Once the dough was made, I split it into two parts and added lavender to one half and rosemary to the other. Even the doughs were gorgeous.
It’s not often I think how beautiful my dough is… I usually just want to eat it immediately. This one also had that effect, but not until after I had taken a billion pictures.
And after they were rolled out, cut out and baked, it was hard to decide which one was better.
I ended up sending a mix of both flavors to all of the moms back east. I’m not sure they made it there un-crumbled, but based on the couple that I saved for myself, they would have been just as amazing in tiny, little crumbly pieces.
The lemon flavor was perfect with the herbs (and flowers). And the icing was perfect and simple and sweet.
Although it wasn’t the exact flavor I remembered from that tiny shortbread cookie all those years ago, I’m happy to keep experimenting until I figure it out.
I am also curious about using thyme… But I’m sure there will be a next time very, very soon.
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
adapted from here and here
1 c unsalted butter – room temperature
3/4 c confectioner’s sugar (or more, depending on the consistency after you add the lemon juice)
2 tbsp lemon juice (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract)
1.5 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest (about 2 large lemons, preferably Meyer)
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 c cornstarch
2.5 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp dried lavender
Cream together the butter and confectioner’s sugar until smooth, and then mix in lemon juice and zest. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, cornstarch and flour. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until the flour coats the butter but isn’t completely worked in. Add in lavender flowers. Using your hands, lightly rub the ingredients together until the mixture is no longer dry. You will know it’s done when it forms easily into a dough ball. Flatten the dough out into a disc and wrap with plastic warp. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to three days).
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Take the fully–chilled dough and place it on top of a piece of parchment. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/3 inch. Cut with cookie cutters. Remove the scraps from between each cookie and re–form into a flat disc. (If dough has become too soft or warm, re–refrigerate it for a few minutes before attempting to roll it out.) Transfer parchment paper to a cookie sheet and bake in the top third of the oven for 15 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown. Allow to cool on cookie racks before icing.
1 c confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Whisk together confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Set your cookies on a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet to catch excess icing. Drizzle icing lightly over cookies and garnish with a lavender bud before while the icing is still liquid. Allow icing to set and harden for about an hour before moving or stacking cookies.