Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rosemary-lavender shortbreads

O.k. this is just a warning that you'll be seeing a lot of recipes with lavender in the coming months. I'll be volunteering in the kitchen of a lavender festival this coming June at a place called Highland Springs Resort in Cherry Valley, California. It's a beautiful property laden with an olive grove, fig trees, hiking trails, an old oak tree that's merely hundreds of years old, and fields of lavender. The festival will take place every weekend of the entire month of June, and of course all the food there will be lavender-inspired. I can't even begin to tell you just how excited I am about this event.

Since they're still looking for some additional menu ideas, I'm testing out some tried and true recipes with the addition of lavender. This shortbread turned out quite divine last time, and since rosemary and lavender give off a similar scent, the thought was to replace just a bit of rosemary with the lavender and it worked. The flavor was mostly rosemary, with a hint of lavender and no sign of soapiness whatsoever.

You'll see here I rolled out the dough and shaped them into individual cookies to make them a bit prettier this time. This called for a drastic shift in baking time. The ones I took out after 11-13 minutes came out a lovely pale gold with deep gold edges, but any I baked beyond that were a bit too dark to be passed as proper shortbreads. So watch them closely, o.k? It may also help to attempt these before midnight when your mind is at its full capacity so you'll remember to set the timer at the appropriate time and perhaps even remember to put a tray of cookies in the oven at all. It's a dangerous life I live in this kitchen of mine.

Recipe: Rosemary-lavender shortbreads
Adapted from Epicurious
3/4 sticks (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon dried organic lavender

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat butter and honey with sugar until light and fluffy. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, chopped or dried rosemary and lavender. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined.

On a lightly floured surface knead dough about 8 times, or until it just comes together. Roll out flat with a rolling pin to 1/8" thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutters. Press just a few buds of lavender on top, if desired. Carefully lift cut circles of dough with a pastry scraper and place on cookie sheet 1/2" apart. (they don't spread much).

Bake shortbread in middle of oven for 11-13 minutes, or until pale golden (be sure to watch closely). Transfer onto cooling racks and enjoy with a cup of earl gray tea.


Syrie said...

What gorgeous photographs and a lovely recipe. I've always wanted to cook with lavender but have never gotten around to it. I will now. Thanks for sharing!

vlijtig said...

Those look great. Both lavender and rosemary are in my garden. So I'm certainly going to make these shortbreads!

Terry B said...

These look as delicious as they are lovely. They also give me an idea: Since lavender is an ingredient in herbes de Provence, I bet shortbread cookies made with this fragrant herb mix instead of the lavender and rosemary might also be good.

Undercover Cook said...

Syrie, thank you. I added your site to my google page.

Vlijtig, what lovely items you make with your hands. I envy you and your garden.

terry b, that's a brilliant idea! I never thought to use herbes de Provence in a dessert. If you try it, please let me know how it goes. Thanks for the brainstorm.