Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This Cookie's A Winner

Lavender shortbread

Even though this is all wrapped up in pretty blue ribbon, no, this isn’t the surprise I was talking about before. I know some of you have been anticipating with bated breath what this surprise is. And I do hope that it eventually lives up to all this hype I have inadvertently bestowed it with. But I just have to find the time to make it, just for the simple fact that I don’t want to rush it. I only a have a small portion of the stuff, so I must be cautious lest I ruin it and have nothing to show.

So it will have to wait until later in the week, as I have a packed schedule these next two days filled with birthdays, dinners and soirées. It’s just as well that I love to eat (and drink), as I would tire of all these shindigs. But, alas, that surprise must wait. Don’t worry I am itching to create something new

But here is something I made earlier.

Lavender portraits

If you like all things pretty, then for me, lavender is usually what comes to mind; its delicate lilac blossoms, its fragrant aroma and it's beautiful velvety stems. It seems that when you add lavender to anything, it almost instantly becomes pretty. Lavender's allure has captured me again, and this time the creation isn't too far from what I had made before.

If you are thinking that the recipe looks familiar, then you have probably seen it before on Kelli's Lovescool. I adapted her recipe from her award winning recipe for Green Tea Sweets. All I changed was the green tea flavouring and replaced it with lavender, but other than that the recipe is based on Kelli's original creation. I am so glad that she decided to share the recipe with us, as I am making it my base shortbread recipe from which I will probably make other variations from.

Lavender Shortbread

What's so good about her recipe? Well not only is it so simple to make, but the shortbread keeps it shape even after baking. Some shortbread recipes I have made, I've found, loses certain details in it shape because the cookies tend to spread. The great thing about this recipe is that the shortbread barely, if at all spreads in the oven while baking and keeps their shape perfectly, and so allows you to cut some more detailed shapes from your dough.

As for the taste. Well, I have been looking for a "go-to" shortbread recipe, and for some time, I did settle on a Donna Hay recipe, but its long reign is over because Kelli's shortbread recipe has toppled Miss Hay's off the throne. It's amazing how the combination of flour, sugar and butter, in slight variations and ratios can create something completely different. As essentially, shortbread, like many other cookies, are a combination of flour, sugar and butter, but it's the different ratios of these ingredients that create something either genius or inedible.

Lavender in focus

This combination of flour, sugar and butter not only tastes incredible, but it's has been deemed worthy of the title of best bakery recipe. And I can see why. The original green tea recipe, I found, is quite adaptable and I can just imagine endless variations, this probably isn't the last you have seen of these cookies.

And if you are looking for ideas for favours or presents, I think these cookies even have the sophistication to be used for weddings and birthdays. That's if you have the patience and the time to make them and wrap them up in pretty little pouches. It is definitely worth all the effort though. It beats the classical, yet worn out sugared almonds on your wedding day, I'm sure your guests would be delighted to receives these cookies as a gift.

lavender stalks

As far as shortbreads go, this one is hard to beat. Its blissful buttery texture that melts in your mouth, its aromatic sweetness and its frosted sugar-coating, it's the perfect thing to satiate any sweet tooth's appetite. And what better way to share some love than with a bunch of these cookies, it's as good as getting a bunch of flowers.

Lavender Shortbread

adapted from this award-winning recipe
makes 15 flower shapes

Lavender shortbread

¾ cup (2.25 oz) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1 tbsp dried lavender
140g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp lemon zest
1¾ cup (8.5 oz) plain all-purpose flour
3 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar (for coating)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and lavender together in a bowl.
Add the butter, lemon zest and lavender/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in colour.
Add the flour and mix until well combined.
Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.
Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes).
Roll the dough out to 1.5cm thickness.
Cut the dough with a cookie cutter.
Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
Place the sugar-coated cookie on a parchment lined pan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.


Anonymous said...

You seem to like lavender a lot! This cookie seems quite easy to make... trouble is I need to get some lavender, maybe I 'take' some from other people's garden...? :P

Patricia Scarpin said...

That looks absolutely amazing, Jenjen - I should try shortbread soon, I have read and seen so much about it!

Cara said...

They look beautiful! Cant wait to try some. I love your blog! And the recipes, I have tried a lot of them. I am also a huge Danna Hay fan, whenever we get her mag. in stores here I swipe them up.
Do you do your own pictures to? There great.

Julia said...

What stunning photographs!

Mandy said...

I made the lavender sable you posted on your blog and Kelli's greentea shortbreads not long ago and really liked them a lot. And I must say combining the lavender in kelli's recipe is a great idea. :)

Anonymous said...

I lurrrve how these look. I can't wait to give it a try; I've been searching for THE shortbread recipe. Sure hope this will end the search! :p

Anonymous said...

those look delicious! your photography is amazing on these pics, too.

Anonymous said...

Yummy! They look great too!

Anonymous said...

I have yet to try anything lavender-flavored. I need to get on that! My compliments on your photos - you have matched the gorgeous purple of the lavender flowers with the most fitting and gorgeous of blues! I'm impressed, as usual! :)

leonine194 said...

Magnifiques photos!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

what gorgeous lavender-shortbread cookies!! I've always been intrigued by recipes that call for lavender, but have never worked up the courage to actually try them...

I'm so anxious to find out the surprise!!

daphne said...

they look great! I have been looking at Donna Hay's book wondering should i attempt the shortbread.. ;p

i'm always alittle nervous about trying out shortbread recipes but looking at yours... i think i should give it a go!

Anita said...

Kelli's shortbread is fabulous - so clever of you to adapt it to something equally deliciou!

Anonymous said...

What a great adaptation (and beautiful photos!). They look absolutely wonderful. This recipe is very flexible since the tea can be replaced by almost anything- spices, other tea, herbs, etc. Thanks for sharing the lavender idea.

Anonymous said...

The shortbread looks so pretty. I'm sure they taste great too. Amazing photos always.

Jen said...

Windy- I certainly do love lavender, it has to be one of my favourite ingredients to work with.

Patricia Scarpin- Aww, thank you. Shortbreads are great as that you don't have to have too many to be satisfied, as they are quite filling. It's indulgence without going to surfeit.

Cara Horton- Thanks. Aren't those creations in Donna Hay Magazines just the most envious thing. As you can tell, I adore her mag too.

Julia- Thank you so much!

Mandy- Thanks. I'm glad you got to try those lavender sables. Aren't they just divine.

OvenHaven- I hope your search ends here too. I now mine did. I guess it depends what you are looking for in a shortbread. I am about to try one recipe from Heidi's blog 101 Cookbooks. Can't wait to see how those turn out.

Ann- They were more than delicious. And thank you.

Linda- Yeah I love the pretty flower shape, seeing as it was quite appropriate with lavender being a flower and all.

Hillary- Oh you must at least try lavender some day. It's an exquisite flavour.
And thanks for your remarks about the photos. Blue is my favourite colour, so I was finding some way to sneak it into the shots. I'm glad you think it worked.

leonine194- Merci Beaucoup!

VeggieGirl- Oh you must try using lavender sometime. It's much like a spice, so you can add it to a lot of baked goods, like you would cinnamon and nutmeg. Just make sure you don't go too crazy with the lavender as that too much can become overpowering. Subtlety is the key.

Daphne- Shortbread is quite easy to make and quite forgiving. You don't have to be too careful, just make sure you don't overwork the dough.

Anita- Isn't here recipe just excellent. I can't wait to create more flavours with it.

Kellii- Wow thank you. I wasn't sure how you would take me, changing your original recipe but I am glad that you approve. I have to say, your recipe is pretty faultless, anything would have tasted good with it.

didally- Thanks always for your encouraging words : )

Blue Zebra said...

Jen those looks so delicate, feminine and beautiful!! I will definitely be trying this recipe.

Anonymous said...

I love a good shortbread.
Growing up with a Scottish Nan I should, and these look just so melt in your mouth.
....And your photos are spectacular too!

ilingc said...

Hi Jen, the cookies look gorgeous with the blue ribbon! and I love the shot of the lavender. It's just..gorgeous.

I've seen the recipe at loveskool too. Now I really must find time to give it ago.

ps.. the suspense is killing me!! ;)

Pille said...

The cookies look so perfectly crumbly, Jenjen! I need to try two cookie recipes now - Kelli's green tea ones and your lavender ones!!!

Amy said...

These are gorgeous! I love lavender shortbread.

Anonymous said...

wow, so pretty! they would make a lovely Mother's Day gift i think. or Christmas even.

i wonder if i can nick some lavendar from the bushes dotted around my street... hmm...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post... and gorgeous photos!!!

Niki said...

What an amazing and inventive creation! I've never used lavender but floral flavors have always intrigued me... Your photos are magnificent! :D

Helene said...

These are hurting my eyes they are so freaking elegant and mouth watering. I love infusing butter and milk in recipes with lavender, adds an extra specail flavor.

Truffle said...

Almost too adorable for words! What a beautiful creation.

Anonymous said...

I love lavender in cookies,ours shortbread are so cute and those blues photos are so marvellous !

Anonymous said...

beautiful and they sound delicious

Monique said...

These cookies are so pretty, but I've never tried cookies with lavendar... wonder what it tastes like?

Anonymous said...

Hi...I'm reading you from Rome! Your cookies look great! (I adore lavender!) I like your photographs as well!

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful but can you omit the lavender?




umelbanat said...

WOW...1st time for me at your blog...& your pics are simply stunning...too bad I have no idea where I can get my hands on some lavender..I love to try my hand on this recipe...

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm. I just made these. They were very easy and came out very yummy. Just the right touch of lavender. I will definitely make these again, and will be sharing with friends!

Kaylee said...

These look delicious, and I'm excited to try them! My only question is: should I first crush up the lavender into a powder before I whisk it in to the recipe?