Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lavender and Lemon Cookies it not the Superman of herbs? I love it in my warm bath, the sachets that fill my chest of drawers and to my surprise, in my baked goods.

I had been meaning to bake with lavender for sometime, and was so excited to finally try out this recipe. These buttery, delicate cookies were the perfect pastry to make for my friend's baby shower. They weren't overly sweet, and the lavender had a subtle, earthy flavor which complemented the tartness of the lemon.

I'll admit that the first batch came out with some less than desirable dark edges, so I adjusted the temperature to 350º instead of the 375º that's listed in the recipe. Thanks to my craftiness and/or desperation, I managed to salvage them by using a cookie cutter to carefully cut flower shapes out of the already baked cookies. The shapes worked out so well that I decided to do the same with the remaining batches.

The cookie dough can be made in advance and stored in the freezer until ready to bake. There's also no need to pull out the KitchenAid mixer, since the entire recipe can be completed by using only a food processor. It's a lazy baker's dream!

Lavender and Lemon Cookies
Adapted from Baking Illustrated via When Harry met Salad

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest + 2 tablespoons juice from 1-2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender
  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, process the sugar, lemon zest and lavender until the sugar looks damp and the zest and lavender are fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the sugar mixture; pulse to combine, about (10) 1-second pulses.

Scatter the butter pieces over and pulse until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about (15) 1-second pulses. In a measuring cup, beat together the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla. With the machine running, add the juice mixture in a slow stream (should take about 10 seconds) and continue processing until the dough forms into a ball, 10 to 15 seconds longer.

Turn the dough and any dry bits onto a clean work surface and gently gather into a ball. Working quickly, roll the dough into a cylinder about 12" long and 1-1/2" in diameter. Center the dough on a piece of parchment or plastic wrap and wrap tightly, twisting the ends together to seal. Chill the dough until firm and cold, about 45 minutes in the freezer or 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the dough log from its wrapper and use a sharp knife to slice the dough into 3/8" thick rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1" apart. Bake until the centers of the cookies just begin to color and the edges are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. Cool on sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes approximately 4 dozen.

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