Lavender Shortbread Cookies

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Lavender (Image Source)

Shortbread is an unleavened Scottish cookie that’s made primarily of flour, butter, and sugar.  It has a crispy, crumbly texture and buttery flavor.  Shortbread can be additionally flavored with just about anything sweet or savory, such as vanilla, coffee, or caraway seeds.  I decided to flavor mine with lavender, since I was recently at a local organic store when I found some beautiful dried lavender that I couldn’t resist buying (I’m oddly drawn to uncommon ingredients ;) ).  These cookies were fragrant and absolutely beautiful to look at.  They made perfect party favors for a mid-summer soiree. 

I’m sending my recipe over to Veronica of Recipe Rhapsody for this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient — flour!

Dried Lavender

I made Lavender Sugar to use in these cookies, which incidentally, is also amazing in tea (I highly recommend it in Earl Grey).  You can substitute Lavender Sugar into any recipe that you want that calls for sugar.  There are three ways you can make Lavender Sugar:

  1. Process the dried lavender and sugar in a blender or food processor until they have a fine texture (they should have the texture of superfine/castor sugar).  If you want to make Powdered (Confectioners) Lavender Sugar, you can process half a tablespoon of dried lavender with half a cup of sugar and one tablespoon of cornstarch until they form a powder.  Processed in this way, the Lavender Sugar or Powdered Lavender Sugar can be used immediately.
  2. Combine the sugar and dried lavender in a sterilized glass jar.  Put the lid on the jar and leave it for two weeks in a cool, dark place.  Pour the Lavender Sugar through a sieve to separate the dried lavender from the sugar (you can discard the dried lavender or use it for something else); the sugar will be perfumed of lavender and is now ready to use.
  3. Place the dried lavender in a muslin herb bag.  Put the herb bag and the sugar together in a sterilized glass jar, put the lid on the jar, and leave it for two weeks in a cool, dark place (giving the jar a shake once a day).  Take out the herb bag and use the Lavender Sugar as normal.

Lavender Sugar

If you want, you can dye your Lavender Sugar purple (or you can use this method to dye white sugar any color you want).  Here are the steps to dye sugar:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix sugar with a drop or two of food coloring (I recommend using liquid food coloring here).  Stir to combine the coloring and the sugar and then add more food coloring to achieve your desired color.  If you add too much coloring you can add more sugar.
  3. Spread the colored sugar out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 2-5 minutes (or until dry…but be careful and check it often to make sure that the sugar isn’t caramelizing), depending on how much sugar you make.
  4. After baking, sieve the sugar to remove any lumps.
  5. Store sugar in sterilized lidded jars at room temperature. 

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

(Yield:  15 cookies)

Cookies:

1/4 c plus 2 TB lavender sugar, divided (see below)

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter plus a little more to press the cookies, at room temperature

1 c all-purpose flour

3 TB cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

Red and blue liquid food coloring (optional)

Lavender Sugar:

1/2 c white sugar

1/2 TB dried lavender

For the Lavender Sugar:  Process the dried lavender and sugar in a blender or food processor until they have a fine texture (they should have the texture of superfine/castor sugar).  Measure out and set aside 1/4 c Lavender Sugar to make the cookie dough and 2 TB Lavender Sugar to use on top of the cookies.  There will be 2 TB Lavender Sugar leftover; I used this in the tea that I drank with the cookies.

If you want to dye the Lavender Sugar purple to use on top of the cookies:  Preheat oven to 325F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix the 2 TB of Lavender Sugar that you set aside with a drop or two of both red and blue food coloring.  Stir to combine the coloring and the sugar and then add more food coloring to achieve your desired color.  If you add too much coloring you can add more plain white sugar.  Spread the colored sugar out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 2-3 minutes, or until dry.  After baking, sieve the sugar to remove any lumps.

For the cookies:  Preheat the oven to 325F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner.  Cream together the butter and 1/4 c Lavender Sugar that you measured out.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt.  Use a wooden spoon to stir the dry ingredients into the wet.  If the dough is too sticky to handle, refrigerate it for 15 minutes.  Using a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon, measure out the dough and roll them into balls.  Place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Grease the bottom of a drinking glass with butter, then dip it in the dyed Lavender Sugar (if you didn’t dye your sugar, just dip the buttered glass in the regular Lavender Sugar).  Slightly flatten each ball of dough with the buttered and sugared glass, dipping in more butter and sugar as needed.  Bake for 17 minutes, then cool completely on the baking sheet before removing.  Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Comments

  1. says

    These are so incredible, Faith! You should enter them in BSI–who else would think to put lavender in cookies? OK, Laura Flowers of The Cooking Photographer did it but you guys are like total out-of-the ordinary geniuses. LOVE. I love that you topped the cookies with the lavender sugar, too.

  2. says

    Holy cow Faith, these are the most beautiful cookies I have ever seen. I really mean that. I have never heard of cooking with lavender before but I think that is a fantastic idea!

  3. says

    Faith,
    These cookies are so lovely. I have been wanting to make lavender sugar for a while. I have several lavender plants in my yard. This is just the inspiration I need.
    Mimi

  4. says

    AAH! Faith!! These are darling! I’ve been obsessed with lavender desserts ever since I saw a recipe for lavender tea bread once…but never got to make it because I just couldn’t find good lavender!

  5. says

    Would you believe that I have been thinking about all the things I could make with lavender the last few months?? These cookies are definitely going to be on my list once our lavender bush starts flowering!! And I love the dainty light lavender colour… so pretty!

  6. says

    Oh, you had me at lavender. Really had me at shortbread. I was hooked by the time I got to “cookies”! These look absolutely lovely! The color, the shape, the dusting on top. Beautiful!

    Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my blog, dear! ♥

    • admin says

      Janet, I bought mine at a local organic grocery store. If you can’t find it there, I would check at a farmers’ market or gourmet store. If all else fails I know it’s available on Amazon. Hope you find it and happy hunting! :)

  7. says

    I recently discovered lavender as an ingredient in another blog I follow and I was intrigued by the idea. I love your shortbread cookies and I am sure that lavender sugar goes excellent with tea.

  8. says

    I love to use hints of lavender in my cooking. Your shortbread sounds delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Maryb

  9. says

    We have a lot of lavender bushes up here and I was thinking of looking for recipes to use at least some of them; you have answered my wish and these cookies are also beautiful and would make my little niece so happy.

  10. says

    They’re so pretty. I’ve been wanting to try out some lavender but haven’t found any at my local grocery stores. My next stops will be The Fresh Market & Whole Foods.
    ~ingrid

  11. says

    I have some culinary lavender here that I TRULY need to use! I’ve been so uninspired by it lately and can’t really say why…

    These look absolutely fantastic. I would like a whole plate as a party favor. Thanks :P

  12. says

    They’re beautiful! I was thinking, “Where can I find lavender??” and you said it was an uncommon ingredient. I bookmarked this recipe and I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for dried lavender.

    Have a great weekend, Faith!

  13. says

    These lavender shortbread cookies are gorgeous! The sugar on the top adds so much to flavor, texture and presentation. This makes for such an elegant tea-time cookie. I always love your recipes, but I think this is one of my all time favorites yet :) xxoo

  14. says

    You’re an absolute genius!!! Lavender sugar sounds so good you can’t help thinking about making it. Or at least I can’t! =)
    Not to mention that shortbread cookies are divine to begin with…

  15. says

    I’m so impressed with your purple lavender sugar, Faith! I love the smell of lavender (who doesn’t?), but I have yet to use it in, well, anything. I’ll bet the shortbread cookies set off the lavender flavor beautifully. Nice one!

    BTW, love your Silpat! Aren’t they great?

  16. says

    I’m beginning to learn to use lavender in cooking more and more. These cookies sound fantastic and they turned out to be beauties.

    Now I’m wishing that we had planted lavender in our herb garden this year. The cold got it last winter.
    Sam

  17. says

    Mmm, I was just thinking yesterday about how I would like to make some cookies soon. I’ve caught the baking bug, I guess! Ha! Lavender cookies? Sounds intriguing! :)

    • admin says

      Kim, The point is to keep the sugar in a cool, dark place (like a pantry), where you would keep other kitchen staples to best preserve them.

  18. says

    I need to buy culinary lavender some day soon. We used to own a lot, and all was well, but for some reason it ended up… outside? I looked for it in the kitchen for almost a year before I saw the jar outside, and I can’t bear using the lavender for culinary purposes when I think about how dirty the jar was (even though the lavender is probably fine, but I’ll use it for smell purposes only now :P)

    The shortbread looks amazing; I’ve always wanted to try lavender shortbread. :)

    PS: if you’re looking for something else to use lavender in, make Peter Reinhart’s Potato Rosemary bread: http://www.shaboomskitchen.com/archives/bread/potatorosemary.html but substitute lavender for the rosemary, use a lighter-flavored oil and leave out the garlic (or leave it in, I just haven’t tried it that way :P). It’s to die for!

  19. says

    Beautiful picture. I love the way you have styled these lovely cookies and your plate is so elegant.

    Thanks for the great recipe on making lavender sugar. I will have to try to make some myself.

  20. Jeannie says

    Such lovely cookies…would love to make my own lavendar sugar too if I could get my hands on some lavendar flowers!

  21. Melody says

    I’m a little confused about the instruction on making the lavender sugar. Can I process sugar and the lavender flowers in a blender and use right away or do I need to put the lavender and sugar in a jar for two weeks then sieve out the lavender?

    • admin says

      Melody,

      There are 3 different ways you can make lavender sugar; if you choose the first way, you do not need to sieve out the lavender, since it is processed in a blender.

      1. Process the dried lavender and sugar in a blender or food processor until they have a fine texture (they should have the texture of superfine/castor sugar). If you want to make Powdered (Confectioners) Lavender Sugar, you can process half a tablespoon of dried lavender with half a cup of sugar and one tablespoon of cornstarch until they form a powder. Processed in this way, the Lavender Sugar or Powdered Lavender Sugar can be used immediately.

      2. Combine the sugar and dried lavender in a sterilized glass jar. Put the lid on the jar and leave it for two weeks in a cool, dark place. Pour the Lavender Sugar through a sieve to separate the dried lavender from the sugar (you can discard the dried lavender or use it for something else); the sugar will be perfumed of lavender and is now ready to use.

      3. Place the dried lavender in a muslin herb bag. Put the herb bag and the sugar together in a sterilized glass jar, put the lid on the jar, and leave it for two weeks in a cool, dark place (giving the jar a shake once a day). Take out the herb bag and use the Lavender Sugar as normal.

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