Thursday, October 13, 2011

lavender shortbread

You know what I realised today?  I've been spelling lavender wrong for my entire life. No joke. In my head, it's always been lavendar. Where this comes from... who knows?

I've always been a pretty good speller. I've avoided the confusion between there, they're and their and I've never typed 'congradulations' on anybody's Facebook wall. I wrote a lot in my rapidly disappearing youth - I spent a lot of my childhood typing awkward nerd stories into the DOS version of WordPerfect. In my early twenties I wrote even more awkward nerd stories which still exist on the internet under a pen name that I will never admit to. Now I write facts in emergency mode for a living.

But 'lavendar' isn't the first spelling mistake revelation I've had - it was only about five years ago that I stopped writing 'rediculous' and about one year ago (the shame!) that I abandoned 'alot'. My dad, at one point a professional editor, is facepalming as he reads this, I'm sure. None of this, of course, has anything to do with lavender cookies (or mythical lavendar cookies), which are buttery, delicious, melt in your mouth and absolutely pop with lavender flavour.

I've been seeing recipes everywhere for shortbread cookies with cornstarch and this makes me put on my purist hat and sneer. However, listening to my photography teacher's tirade against purist idiots who refuse to use Photoshop, I decided to be a little more open minded and give it a go. So I did (a little bit - baby steps) and it actually turned out pretty well, though I think I would hesitate to use the entire 1/4 cup called for in the original recipe. The original recipe also called for an optional tablespoon of lavender tea (made from steeped lavender flowers). I opted to add Earl Grey tea instead, but I didn't taste it at all in the final product. I also think that this recipe would have benefited from a bit of added salt to add a little more dimension to the flavour, but overall... thumbs up on these cookies!

Oh, and if you're looking for places to buy dried lavender - I got mine at Jean-Talon Market in Montreal. Similarly, you could probably find it at Atwater or any other public market here. I would suggest Granville Island in Vancouver. If you're not from either of those places, I'm sure that if you google 'where can I find dried lavender in my city' you will be able to find it somewhere.

lavender shortbread
Adapted from Happy Valley Lavender and Herb Farm's lavender shortbread recipe

1 1/2 tbsp dried lavender flowers
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 tbsp pieces
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
(I would try adding 1/4 tsp salt next time) 
1 tbsp strong Earl Grey tea (optional)
1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp flour

In a food processor, pulse the lavender, butter, cornstarch, icing sugar, salt and 3 tbsp flour until well combined. Add the rest of the flour and the tea if you're using it. Pulse pulse pulse then work it properly into a dough with your hands.

Roll dough into a log, then wrap with plastic and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325ºF (I did 300ºF because my oven has multiple personalities). Cut log into 1/2" slices and and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Serve with a delicious cup of Earl Grey tea!

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