Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lemon Lavender Shortbread

I don't know what's wrong with me lately. I just can't get enough of lavender. I love the way it smells. I love the sight of it in my garden: the silvery leaves and happy purple flowers thrive in a hot, sunny spot where other plants might wilt. I can pretend that we, the lavender and I, are in Provence or Sicily under a baking and bright Mediterranean sun. Cheers, lavender!

Lately I even want to eat lavender. Every time I turn around, I'm finding a use for just a subtle hint of its scent and flavor. This week, those pretty flowers are in full bloom. If we bake them into shortbread, the palest of cookies, then we can still enjoy their color. Lemon zest adds more fragrance to the cookie; so do vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries on the side.

Lemon Lavender Shortbread
10 T butter, softened
¼ c powdered sugar
1 ½ T granulated sugar
¼ t salt
1 ½ c flour
2 t lavender flowers; you may include some tiny, tender leaves
2 t lemon zest

Preheat oven to 300° F. Cream the powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and salt into the butter until light and fluffy. Sprinkle the flour, lemon zest, and lavender over the mixture and stir until well incorporated.
Pat the mixture into an 8 x 8 pan. Prick all over with a fork if you like. Bake until the shortbread is just thinking about turning golden brown; but take it out of the oven before it does anything much about that idea. This should take 45 to 50 minutes.

Cut the shortbread in the pan while it’s hot, then cool in the pan on a rack. Pop them out with a metal spatula. Serve to acclaim.