The flavors of bright lemon and floral lavender pair so well in this crisp and buttery shortbread cookie recipe. Lemon Lavender Cookies embody the flavors of Spring and give a surprisingly delightful flavor to this classic shortbread cookie.
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💕 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
There are so many reasons to love easy shortbread cookie recipes like this one. Here are just a few:
- The floral flavors of edible flowers pair so well with citrusy lemon
- The buttery flavor of this delicate cookie makes for the perfect ending to a meal or the perfect addition to your afternoon coffee or tea
- Buttery shortbread cookies are made from simple ingredients, making them the perfect choice for an easy dessert for your summer BBQ or weekend gathering
🧾 Ingredients & Substitutions
To make these Lemon Lavender Cookies, you'll need the following ingredients:
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon zest: A microplane is my favorite tool for zesting a lemon. You'll need the zest of one large lemon for this recipe
- Unsalted butter: Be sure to remove the butter from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to baking so it has time to reach room temperature. This will allow the butter to incorporate evenly into the shortbread dough
- Powdered sugar: The granulated sugar in this recipe helps add crispness to this cookie's exterior while the powdered sugar makes for a soft cookie inside
- All purpose flour
- Cake flour: cake flour has less protein content than all-purpose flour, making it ideal for use in these delicate cookies. The all purpose flour provides structure while the cake flour keeps the cookies soft
- Fresh lavender or dried lavender: Either will work well in this recipe. I tend to use dried lavender because it can be easily found at grocery stores or online. If using fresh flowers, you'll need 1 tablespoon. If using dried lavender, you'll need only 1 teaspoon. As in most recipes that use lavender, it needs to be used sparingly, as a little goes a long way in terms of flavor. Just one pinch more than what these lavender shortbread cookies recipe calls for and you'll end with cookies that taste like hand soap!
✨How To Make Lavender Shortbread Cookies
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.
To up the ante on these lavender shortbread 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 lavender flavor. 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.
In a mason jar or bowl with a tight fitting lid, mix together the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Cover tightly and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (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.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the refrigerated dough into 2 x 1-inch rectangular bars and place on a piece of parchment paper or silicone mats on a baking sheet. Alternatively, use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the cookie dough.
Bake the cookies until just golden at the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the hot cookies with lemon sugar and dried lavender, if desired. Let cool completely on the cookie sheet before serving.
👩🍳 Pro Tips
- 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!
- Once cookies have cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week
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If you can find lavender extract, it may be used as a substitute for the fresh or dried lavender. The lavender taste may be stronger in an extract so use it sparingly. I would recommend using ½ teaspoon of lavender extract.
Yes! The fresh flavors of lavender leaves makes for a delicious tea. I would recommend using it sparingly and not allowing the lavender to steep for longer than a few minutes. Otherwise, your tea will taste soapy and/or bitter.
Dried lavender will keep really well for several weeks if stored properly. I'd recommend storing it in a tightly sealed glass jar or in sealed ziploc bags in a cool dry place.
A properly potted and watered lavender plant should last about 3 months.
This is a common question about the difference between rosemary vs lavender. These two plants have similar shapes but vary in color, for one. Rosemary tends to be a bit more green whereas lavender is a bit more gray in color. Lavender's scent also tends to be a bit sweeter than rosemary. Both can be used in the kitchen.
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- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 large lemon
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh lavender chopped or 1 teaspoon dried lavender
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 large lemon
- In a mason jar or bowl with a tight fitting lid, mix together the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Cover tightly and set aside.
- 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.
- 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