I have always been a huge fan of shortbread cookies and when I enjoy one of these buttery treasures I think of my Nana, who made the best shortbreads ever. Although I always bake a few batches of shortbread cookies over the Christmas holidays, I rarely bake them at other times during the year. When it comes to shortbread cookies, I have a hard time restraining myself, so it is best simply not to have them in the house.
Lavender grows all over our property here in Umbria, and we have been slowly harvesting our lavender over the past few weeks as it is presently in full bloom and at its most fragrant. My husband trims a few bushes a day, and I spend an hour or two every afternoon pulling the flowers off the stems and then drying the lavender. I love the scent of lavender, and I tie up bunches with twine and place them on window sills so that even the lightest breeze will carry the scent throughout our farmhouse. I also make sachets for our closets to keep out pesky moths and to store in my linen chest to give my freshly washed and pressed sheets the scent of this wonderful flower. This past week as I was harvesting yet another bag full of lavender, I was thinking about how I could use lavender in my kitchen. One idea that came to mind was using lavender to flavor a batch of shortbread cookies. I ended up testing out one batch, and they were so tasty that I made another batch to share with our farmhouse guests. These cookies smell wonderful and have a very subtle flavor of lavender in every buttery bite. You could glaze these cookies with an icing made with powdered sugar and lemon juice, but I personally am a shortbread purist and prefer my shortbreads unadorned.
Lavender bush in full bloom.
Deborah Mele 2015
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Lavender
- Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Stir in the flour, salt, and lavender and beat on low speed just until blended.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured counter, and roll out to 1/3 of an inch thickness.
- Use cookie cutter of choice and place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies for about 18 to 20 minutes or just until they begin to color along the edges.
- Cool completely before serving.