IMG_4765wbYesterday, I clipped several blossoms from my lavender plants. Then I added the perfumed petals to a standard, three-ingredient shortbread dough. The result of this mad experiment?  Pure deliciousness! Here’s the recipe for these subtly-scented tea-time treats:

A note about lavender. This is one of the easiest herbs to grow.  It flourishes in poor, dry soil, and in full, blazing sun. Lavandula augustifolia ‘Munstead,’ pictured above, grows at the base of my Serpentine Garden. There, it flowers continuously from late June through frost.

All varieties of lavender are edible.

Now, if you can’t get your hands on fresh lavender, you can purchase dried blossoms from online dealers and gourmet shops.  Make sure the product is organic.

A note about Shortbread Dough.  My version of this traditional cookie-dough is as simple as simple can be, for the only ingredients are butter, sugar and flour.  Additives like salt and vanilla are neither necessary nor desirable when the shortbread is to be scented with lavender.

Well. That’s enough note-making for now.  Let’s make these incredible cookies!

Easy Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Ingredients for about 2 dozen, 2-inch diameter 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

Optional Adornment:
1 cup confectioners sugar, blended with just enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency
Lavender petals

To start, detach the lavender petals from their stems.

By “detach,” I mean “violently rip them off.”

Then pour one 1/2 cup of sugar into the bowl of your food processor.

Add the lavender petals…

And give them a 30 second spin.

No food processor? Grind the lavender and sugar in a blender.

No blender?

Put your mortar and pestle to work.

Next, drop 2 sticks of butter (softened to room-temperature) into a standing mixer equipped with a paddle attachment.

No standing mixer for you? A large bowl and a stout wooden spoon will come to your rescue.

Add the lavender sugar…

And mix at low- or medium-low speed for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a blue spatula as necessary.

We are mixing at a slow speed in order to avoid beating air into the butter.  A properly-made shortbread cookie is deliciously-dense.

Again at low- or medium-low speed, beat in 2 cups of flour.

Beat until the mixture is smooth — about 2 minutes. No lumps of butter should be visible when you pinch off a bit of dough and form it into a ball with your fingers, as above.

I forgot to take a picture of this next step: Dump the dough onto your work surface, roughly shape it into a disk, wrap the disk in plastic, and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Okay. The above sentence mentioned four steps, not one.

Please forgive me.

Throw some flour on your work surface (which for me is a marble board)…

And then roll the dough into a circle, approximately one 1/4-inch thick.

Cut out 2-inch diameter rounds.

If you want square, rectangular, or even heart-shaped cookies, I won’t stop you.

Tip: To keep the dough from sticking to your cookie-cutter, dip the gadget in flour before each use.

Transfer the cookies to a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet.

Would you believe that I have never owned a Silpat baking pad? It’s sad, but true.

Then again, you can’t use Silpat for making my favorite fish dish: Cod en Papillote.

Back to the cookies: Before baking, chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Bake the biscuits on the middle rack of a preheated 300-degree oven just until their edges begin to color — 25-30 minutes.

In any event, don’t over-bake.  The shortbread tops should not color at all.

Let the cookies cool completely on their baking sheet.

These lavender shortbread cookies are perfectly delicious as is.

But if you want to dress them up — and you certainly don’t have to — just do what I did, and give them a little glaze and a sprinkling of lavender petals.

To make the glaze, whisk together 1 cup of confectioners sugar with just enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency.

Spoon a tiny dollop of glaze atop each biscuit…

IMG_4765wbAnd dust them with a tiny amount of lavender petals.

Folks, these cookies are delectable. And delicious. And delightful.  Promise me you’ll make them some day.

Need a copy-and-paste version of the above? Here goes:

Easy Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House
Ingredients for about 2 dozen, 2-inch diameter 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

Optional Adornment
1 cup confectioners sugar, blended with just enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency
Lavender petals

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 lavender sugar and butter at low speed until smooth. Then 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 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thick circle; cut out cookie shapes with a round, 2-inch diameter cutter. Using a flat spatula, transfer the rounds 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 — 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Decorate with the optional glaze; sprinkle with lavender petals.

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