The first time I baked with lavender was back in the early 1990’s. At that time, I was writing a weekly herbal cooking column for a local newspaper. Lavender was a very trendy ingredient in 1993… and I was ready to give it a try.
I decided to make lavender blueberry muffins. I mixed up a batch and added about 1/2 cup of lavender buds. The fragrant smell of lavender filled the kitchen as the muffins baked. I couldn’t wait to try one of my creations. I bit into one just out of the oven and… Gag! Choke! Spit! It was horrible. Like eating a handful of potpourri. Or getting my mouth washed out with a bar of lavender soap. Or spraying lavender perfume right up my nose. Needless to say, that recipe did not get published.
My mistake was adding way too much lavender to the batter… lavender is pungent and potent, floral and piney. A little goes a LONG way. Lesson learned!
When used correctly, lavender adds the most wonderful flavor and aroma and it is a fun herb to experiment with – both in sweet and savory dishes.
Last Saturday Marvin and I started the day at Pike Place Market and I bought a small bag of edible lavender buds along with some lemon flavored sugar crystals. Lemon Lavender Sugar Cookies were on my mind. Last night I finally got around to making them.
Lemon Lavender Sugar Cookies are delicate, delicious, heady, fragrant, crispy, lemony, sugar cookies – with just the right amount of lavender… just 2 teaspoons in the entire batch!
Give these a try… I promise they won’t taste like soap. If you can’t find edible lavender buds at your grocery store, try a tea shop, a natural foods market or the MarketSpice Shop at Pike Place. MarketSpice carries a variety of lavender products for cooking and making tea and you can order online.
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp. juice from 1-2 lemons
- 2 t. dried edible lavender
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 12 Tbsp. (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Lemon flavored sugar crystals (optional)
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ t. vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the sugar, lemon zest, and lavender buds until the sugar looks damp and the zest and lavender are fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and pulse to combine, about 10 1-second pulses.
- Scatter the butter pieces over and pulse until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about 15 1-second pulses.
- In a measuring cup, beat together the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla. With the food processor running, add the juice mixture in a slow stream (should take about 10 seconds) and continue processing until the dough pulls together, about 10 to 15 seconds longer.
- Turn the dough and any dry bits onto a clean work surface and gently gather into a ball.
- Working quickly, roll the dough into a cylinder about 12″ long and 1½” in diameter. Center the dough on a piece of parchment or plastic wrap and wrap tightly, twisting the ends together to seal. Chill the dough until firm and cold, about 45 minutes in the freezer or 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
- Remove the dough log from its wrapper and use a sharp knife to slice the dough into ⅜″ thick rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1″ apart and sprinkle with lemon flavored sugar crystals, if desired.
- Bake until the centers of the cookies just begin to color and the edges are golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time.
- Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.