Lavender Lemon Butter Cookies
I have two 6L glass carboys in my possession right now, despite the fact that I don’t make my own wine and I can’t figure out what in god’s name I’m going to do with them. I also have a pair of sparkly pink Hooker Barbie heels that have never been worn, an instructional manual on how to make felt goblins, and another one on how to rewire your home – which is something that I’m never going to do, a wise decision you will agree. Oh, and a television lamp made with a stuffed iguana crazy glued onto a conch shell, which I purchased at a bazaar. The light inside glows red. These are just a cross-section of the random items that I have bought on whim, it was imperative that I had to have them, and yet when the moment of truth comes to pass I sit there scratching my head bald about why I would have done such a thing. Except for the gruesome TV lamp, I rather like that one…..
My disturbing propensity towards buying ridiculous items also carries into the food world. In my pantry right now there is an untouched bottle of wasabi green tea hot sauce, Quebecois mustard pickles (admittedly, I’m saving those for a rainy day), a variety of ice wine jellies and an enormous bottle of fish sauce which was purchased solely for it’s name. Then we get into herbs and spices….whoa, baby. My spice cabinet looks like I’m trying to single handedly create a Silk Road economy from the privacy of my kitchen. Who needs three varieties of yellow curry powder, because they simply MUST have the Sri Lankan, Indian, and West Indian varieties? When you have a half jar of alder smoked sea salt, would you buy another one of chardonnay smoked salt? While we’re at it, how exactly does one smoke salt with chardonnay? And why are these questions that I never seem to ask myself at the time?
So it goes, and that’s how I end up with a jar of dried lavender that I have no idea what to do with. It sat on my counter, with the wrapping still intact, for the last two months. I tried to muster up some creativity and enthusiasm to make some honey-lavender glazed pork loin, or even a blessed lavender tea, but to no avail. The jar just sat there, glaring at me and muttering comments about failure until I started to get edgy. So what do you do when you have a jar of lavender and absolutely no drive to come up with an interesting purpose? You bake cookies, of course!
Lavender Lemon Butter Cookies
Makes approximately 30 cookies
- 1 cup butter at room temperature *
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1.5 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2.5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp dried lavender
- coarse or raw sugar to coat (about 1/4 cup)
* If you live in a temperate house, try leaving the butter out on the counter overnight. However, if you have a cat who likes to leap up on the counter when you’re sleeping and scarf down a half pound of butter, and the only evidence that you’ll have about who the culprit is comes from a litter box most foul indeed, you might want to make sure that it’s in a sealed container or kept protected in a cupboard.
Cream together the softened butter with the icing sugar until it’s nice and smooth. I use salted butter, but if you would prefer to use unsalted butter then feel free to do so – just remember to add a pinch of salt to the mixture when you work in the dry ingredients.
Using a zester or a microplane, zest off 1.5 tbsp of sunshine yellow zest and add this to the butter. Give it a nice stir so that the lemon zest is well worked in.
Add the flour and cornstarch to the butter and stir lightly until the flour starts to coat the butter but is not worked in. Add the lavender at this point.
Use your hands to gently work the flour and butter together. With light fingers, delicately rub the ingredients into one another until the mixture is no longer dry and it’s just starting to come together like a dough. The reason that you want to be a bit of a soft touch is that overworking the dough will lead to a tougher cookie. If you’re sweet and careful with the dough, the result is a fine textured and meltingly crispy butter cookie, which is reward enough for me.
Measure out a long strip of clingy plastic wrap, at least two feet long, and scrape the dough onto it along the center. Gently cup and press the mixture into a rustic log shape.
Wrap the plastic tightly around the dough form and twist both ends to seal it completely. Press and roll this into an even and rounded log shape, making sure that everything is tight, tight, tight! The tighter and clingier the wrapping, the easier it will be to roll this well into a nice shape. Tuck the sealed roll into the fridge to chill for at least 1/2 hour or up to 3 days.
When the dough is fully chilled and quite firm, preheat the oven to 325F with your rack in the upper third. Unwrap the log of dough and slice it horizontally into rounds that are between 1/4 and 1/3 inch thick. Try to slice them all into the same thickness so that they cook evenly.
Sprinkle your coarse sugar onto a plate and press one side of your cookie into it to coat. Spread the cookies out onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. They will need a wee bit of room to spread, but not a lot.
Bake your lovely lavender lemon butter cookies in the upper third of your oven for 20 – 24 minutes, or until they’re just starting to turn golden on the edges. If they’re on two different racks, don’t forget to rotate the sheets halfway through.
Let the cookies cool completely before taking your first melting, buttery bite.
Despite the fact that these cookies look meek and mild, the flavors are anything but. That tarty lemon comes through strongly, before you get an equally bold herbal hit from the dried lavender.
Lemon and lavender are such a lovely combination, and now I feel like a heel for not tucking into the jar sooner. Well, I hereby realize the error of my ways. Maybe I’ll make some pork loin this week, after all……