Friday, May 31, 2013

Rosemary-Lavender Shortbread

Rosemary Lavender Shortbread

One day, on an impulse, I bought a small bag of culinary lavender.  Then I wondered what to do with it.  I had always associated lavender with soap and potpourri, and imagined lavender ice cream or lavender baked goods would taste soapy.  I'm glad to report this shortbread is not at all soapy.  I'd call it herbal and lightly floral, and I wasn't prepared for the glowing reaction it got.  See, I liked the cookies well enough, but I was dreaming of chocolate ice cream, or summery peach cobbler.  And I didn't want a load of buttery shortbread around the house, so I brought the cookies to work.  Their unusual flavor combination, cute teapot shapes, and pretty sprigs got plenty of attention, and lots of compliments.

Squares of shortbread dough flecked with rosemary and lavender. Press some rosemary sprigs into some
of the shortbread for a decorative touch. Then everything gets a dusting of sugar.

The shortbread is sandy and buttery, and accented with honey along with the lavender and rosemary.  Make sure you use dried culinary lavender; the leaves in the sachet that scents your drawer might have chemicals on them.  I adapted this recipe from Epicurious to include the lavender.  I also altered the method to make lots of cutout cookies that would hold their shape when handled, as opposed to two simple rounds scored into triangles.

Shortbread portrait

These are perfect for a fancy tea, but since the temperature hit 90 yesterday I made a strawberry oolong iced tea steeped with lavender.  For a bit of color, splash in about a teaspoon of cranberry juice.  Pour over ice, cool down, and have a cookie.