Baking With the Dixie Chicks: Lavender Shortbread

As I wrote before, some of the many things I love are my American patriotic apron, cooking, baking, and the Dixie Chicks. This weekend marked another moment where all these things came together in a perfect storm of fun and deliciousness, this time in the shape of lavender shortbread.

I’d been wanting to bake cookies (or biscuits, for the Brits among you) for weeks, but the problem (if one may call it that) of baking is that the finished product needs to be eaten, and preferably not just by me. The new summer job I started last week has provided me with a new population upon whom I may force my delicious things of sugar and butter, so Sunday was the perfect time to try a new recipe.

I found this recipe for lavender shortbread, believe it or not, by googling “best cookie recipe.” Sometimes you just need to find a place to start looking, right? I was intrigued when I stumbled upon this particular blog post, because though I’ve heard of people using lavender in food, I’ve never actually used it myself (or eaten it, for that matter). I’d also never made shortbread before, but the recipe didn’t look difficult, so I decided to give it a shot. I had some dried lavender from a couple of plants I keep on my balcony and the rest of the ingredients were conveniently basic, so I was good to go.

This particular day felt like a Wide Open Spaces day, so that’s the album I popped into my kitchen stereo. Of course many of you may be more sophisticated and pull it up on iTunes or whatever it is one does with that program. Whatever floats your boat.

I started combining lavender, sugar, butter and lemon zest, and before I knew it I was belting out “Wide Open Spaces” while finishing the dough. By the time “There’s Your Trouble” came around I was shaping the dough into a disc and wrapping it to chill in the fridge while also doing dirty, dirty things to the mixer’s beaters (yes, I know the recipe says to use a stand mixer and paddle attachments, but we”“ sadly– can’t all have KitchenAids, now can we?).

After 30 minutes I cut shapes from the chilled dough, tossed them in sugar, and popped them in the oven. I put as many as I could on my baking sheet because the recipe said they “barely, if at all” spread in the oven and the size of my oven does not match up with my tolerance for delayed gratification. Which is to say, I wanted them all done in one batch. I found no/hardly any spreading to be not completely true and I ended up having to cut free some Siamese Twin cookies, but this did not in any way diminish their glorious tastiness.

When the delicious, subtle smell of lavender started wafting through the kitchen I freed the cookies from the oven and transferred them to a wire rack to cool properly. And I must admit, I did grab one of the Quasimodo-like misshapen ones to have a first taste. It did not disappoint. The lavender flavor is just right.  You can definitely taste the floweriness, but it’s not like taking a bite out of perfume or essential oil. It’s a fantastic, crumbly, rich shortbread with a luxurious hint of pure, floral summer.







Feel like making your own? Here’s how:

Lavender shortbread (recipe from I Love Milk and Cookies)
Makes around 15 cookies

¾ cup (2.25 oz) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1 tbsp dried lavender
140g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp lemon zest
1¾ cup (8.5 oz) plain all-purpose flour
3 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar (for coating)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360F).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and lavender together in a bowl.
Add the butter, lemon zest and lavender/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in color.
Add the flour and mix until well combined.
Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.
Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes).
Roll the dough out to 1.5cm thickness.
Cut the dough with a cookie cutter.
Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
Place the sugar-coated cookie on a parchment lined pan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.

Pretty soon I may be attending an event/shindig/party where it would be nice to bring a baked treat, so I’m thinking of whipping up some banana blondies next. I have a very special go-to recipe which is absolutely spectacular, so stay tuned for that!

ETA: Please note that there are some medical professionals out there who warn against ingesting lavender while pregnant, but especially while breastfeeding.

By Nanna Freeman

Anglo-America-loving Dutchie with a grad student twist and a mad dash of self-mockery.

Sometimes I also write things here:

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