Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Thins

by Emily Kemme

Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Thins

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a reluctant baker. The problem, for me, is I rarely eat dessert. Sugar isn’t all that appealing; given a choice, I’ll take salt any day.

Even so, the jar of culinary lavender languishing in my spice cabinet has intrigued me ever since I bought it in Seattle’s Pike Place Market several years ago. Have you ever visited this bonanza of fresh fruits, flowers and vegetables? It’s a lively scene, where the fish are so off-the-boat and out-of-the-water that the finny creatures jump out and startle shoppers. I’ve heard the fish are tossed by vendors at potential customers; whether this is good old-fashioned scare tactics in action, or veritable truth, I couldn’t say, since the day we explored the myriad offerings available at the market, I saw no fish tossing in action. I did purchase the dried lavender, though, from All Things Lavender and Angel Farm. I’d made one foray into the jar, steeping lavender buds in half and half to use in a chocolate tart, but have been curious about what else I could cook with the dried flowers.

I discovered this recipe for shortbread in Food & Wine, and doubled it. There are several steps involved in the confection and I decided the best bet was to make a lot of the dough. It freezes for up to one month, or you can bake up the whole batch. I guarantee they won’t last long. Best description I’ve heard for these? They’re absolutely butterful!

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp dried culinary lavender buds, chopped medium fine

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

If you stick to the recipe and slice the dough thinly, the cookies will be a bit brown. For a lighter-colored biscuit, cut into thicker slices.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar with lavender and lemon zest. Beat in butter at moderate speed. Reduce to low and beat in flour and salt until dough forms. It should be very soft and easy to shape into a ball. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Remove dough from fridge and form into two, 4-inch long logs approximately two inches in diameter. Chill for 45 minutes longer.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Slice shortbread dough into 1/4 inch thick segments and place on ungreased baking sheets. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Bake the shortbread for 20 to 25 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool before removing to plate or storage container.

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