I love working with flavors that are so versatile. Lavender and lemon – both can be flavors and scents. They can be used in everything from hand soaps to air fresheners to savory dishes and sweet desserts. And, both lavender and lemon can pack quite a punch flavor-wise! A little goes a long way, that’s for sure. Here, I decided to pair the delicious flavors of bright lemon and floral lavender in a shortbread cookie recipe to evoke the flavors of Spring and give a surprisingly delightful flavor to a classic buttery shortbread.
Easy Shortbread Recipe
If you’ve never made shortbread cookies before, it’s quite easy. The dough is a mix of two types of flour (all-purpose and cake flours) and two types of sugars (powdered and granulated) which all help to give this shortbread a crisp-on-the-outside texture and a delicate crumb when you bite into the cookie. The shape of shortbread is traditionally rectangular which makes them easy to cut out of the rolled out dough with a sharp knife or pizza cutter (is that what it’s called? Seems like there should be a more sophisticated name for it!).
To up the ante on these cookies, I mixed together lemon sugar to sprinkle on top of the baked cookies and threw in a bit of dried lavender flowers for a subtle floral note. The lemon sugar is exactly what it sounds like – granulated sugar mixed with lemon zest. I like to mix this together when I mix the shortbread dough. I then let the sugar sit for a few hours or overnight to absorb all the bright, citrusy notes of the lemon while the shortbread dough chills in the fridge. A sprinkling of this lemony sugar on top of the freshly baked cookies provides just the right amount of texture and added sweetness to the cookie for a perfect bite.
A Little Lavender Goes A Long Way
My sister Stephanie, being the thoughtful gift-giver she is, gifted me this dried lavender for my birthday at the end of last summer. I’ve been dying to use it since then. These cookies were the perfect recipe. Now, I have to come up with several dozen more recipes to use up the remaining lavender! I was gifted a big ol’ jar of this floral goodness and, as in most recipes that use lavender, it needs to be used sparingly, as a little goes a long way in terms of flavor. One pinch more than what this shortbread recipe calls for and you’ll end with cookies that taste like hand soap!
Tips for Making This Recipe
- Be sure to leave enough time to allow this shortbread cookie dough to chill in the fridge before baking. This process allows the dough to develop its flavor and texture for the crisp-on-the-outside and crumbly-on-the-inside bite we are going for here
- Remember that a little goes a long way with the lavender. Too much and you’ll have cookies that taste like soap and no one wants that. You can also use fresh lavender instead of dried if you come across any. If you’re interested in trying fresh lavender, I suggest you google it – you never know what you’ll find in terms of famers markets or local farms that sell fresh lavender in your area. I found a lavender farm quite literally in my backyard!
- The dough, when rolled out, may look as though it can’t possibly produce two dozen shortbread cookies. Don’t worry, it will! These cookies are cut out into 2 by 1-inch rectangles, side-by-side. Rest assured, it may not look like it, but you’ll have just enough dough for that size and number of cookies!
The flavors of bright lemon and floral lavender are paired together in a classic shortbread cookie to evoke the flavors of Spring in this recipe.
For the Lemon Sugar:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (zest of 1 large lemon)
For the Shortbread Cookies:
- Make the Lemon Sugar: In a mason jar or bowl with a tight fitting lid, mix together the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Cover tightly and set aside
- Prepare the Shortbread Dough: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose and cake flours. With the mixer on low, mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition. Add the lavender and lemon zest and stir just until combined. Roll out the dough to a ½-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight
- Roll out & Bake the Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the refrigerated dough into 2 x 1-inch rectangular bars and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies until just golden at the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with lemon sugar. Let cool completely before serving
- Store cooled cookies in air-tight container for up to one week; Baked cookies may be frozen for up to 3 months
- Dough may be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw on counter for 30 minutes before slicing and baking
- Recipe inspired by and adapted from this recipe
- Category: Shortbread Cookies
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Cookies
Keywords: shortbread, cookies, lavender, lemon, zest, biscuits
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