Happy February! After the holiday madness at work and at home, I travelled for two weeks in January to London and Paris for sightseeing, to visit a friend, and to take a pastry course. Upon returning home, I jumped right back to work. I needed a break, I would spend my days off doing nothing at home, just relaxing. I forgot how nice it not to have plans besides work. I enjoy hermitting at home, pondering what I want to accomplish this year, I am such an introvert like that.
My first post of the year will be dedicated to the loveliest day, St. Valentine’s Day. I am sure many of you would already have plans by now, but who doesn’t love cookies? These cookies are very easy to make. My friend recently visited Maui and brought back some beautiful culinary lavender and lavender sugar from a farm . Lavender and lemon is classic flavour combination, perfect for Valentine’s Day. If you are not fond of the lavender flavour, you can simply omit it and make lemon cookies. Since I don’t like the taste and texture of royal icing for decoration, I’ve decided to play the colours and shapes of the dough. Please do experiment with different colours and shapes, have fun and give it LOVE!
- 1 cup / 1/2 lb Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 cup / 4-1/2 oz Icing Sugar, sifted after measuring
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2-1/2 cup/10.5 oz All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Dried Lavender (culinary grade), crushed and very finely chopped
- 2 tsp Lemon Zest (about half of a lemon)
- Lavender Sugar for the tops (optional)
- Violet or food colouring of your choice (optional)
- Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer or a wooden spoon until well blended. Add the vanilla extract, lavender, and lemon zest. Sift the flour with the salt; gradually add the flour to the butter mixer until you have a firm but silky dough that does not stick to you hands. If necessary, add more flour at a time until you've reached the right consistency. Take about 1/4 of the dough and colour to your liking. Shape the doughs into a disk, wrap and chill it for at least one hour before rolling and shaping.
- Position the racks upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 F. Divide the white dough and roll each half between two sheets of wax or parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Lightly dust the dough with flour and cut with cookie cutters. Place the cookies two inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Roll the coloured dough and cut out shapes to decorate or combine with the white cookies. Re-roll the scraps and cut more shapes, if the dough is too soft, chill in the fridge for 10 minutes before rolling again. Repeat rolling and shaping with the second half of the dough. Sprinkle the lavender sugar on the tops of the cookies before baking.
- Bake the cookies until they turn just light brown around the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the sheet and cool on a wire rack.
When buying lavender, be sure to get the culinary grade lavender (not cosmetic) that has not been treated with chemicals. Avoid adding too much lavender otherwise it will taste too much like lavender scented soap.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Cookies: 200 favorite recipes for cookies, brownies, bars & more, 2011 by The Taunton Press.
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