Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lavender, Lovely Lavender

Ladies fair, I bring to you
lavender with spikes of blue;
sweeter plant was never found
growing on our English ground.

~ Caryl Battersby

Lavender Shortbread

This recipe is for a rich but not too sweet shortbread cookie with a hint of sweet lavender fragrance and flavor. Serve with tea or with lemonade laced and garnished with fresh lavender flowers. These shortbreads are wonderful to share with friends and family in pretty boxes or tins lined with lacy paper doilies, lace napkins or hankies. Don’t forget to write out this recipe to include with your gift!

1 1/2 cups (2 sticks) butter (no substitutes!), at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons very finely chopped lavender flowers (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cover bottoms of two baking sheets with parchment or brown paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, lavender, and mint with an electric mixer. Mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour, cornstarch, and salt and beat until incorporated. Divide dough in half. Flatten into squares and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm.

On a floured board, roll or pat out each square to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut the dough into 1 1/2 -inch squares or rounds. Transfer to baking sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Prick each cookie several times with a fork. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until pale golden (do not brown). Cool slightly, then transfer to a rack. Sprinkle with lavender powdered sugar, made by putting 4 or 5 springs of lavender flowers in a sealed jar with powdered sugar for a day before using the sugar.

Makes about 4 dozen.

An Antique Margaret Armstrong Decorative Cover from Cassandra's Collection

Here’s your sweet lavender
sixteen sprigs a penny
that you’ll find my ladies
will smell as sweet as any...

~ Lavender Sellers’s Cry, London England, circa 1900

Hanged up in houses,
it doth very well attemper the aire,
coole and make fresh the place to the delight
and comfort of such as are therein.

~ John Gerard, 1597

Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green,
When you are King, dilly dilly, I'll be your queen,
Who told me so, dilly dilly, how can I know,
I told myself, dilly dilly, love told me so.

~ Traditional Song, circa 1680


  1. All I ever do is Tollhouse slice & bake cookies chocolate-chip cookies ! Those sound wonderful, love the poems, thanks ! Gina

  2. Ha, ha! I remember those days - especially when my daughter and son were in middle and high school and I wanted to have plenty of goodies around during visits by all their wonderful friends - Tollhouse slice and bake and quick roll-out pizza dough! Cassandra ♥

  3. I love lavender shortbread - mint is new to me in the recipe. I have to let my mum see this Cassandra. Thankyou

  4. Cassandra, Thank you for the lavender shortbread recipe. I am most certainly going to try it. Thank you also for your sweet comment on my post. Had you not left it, I would have been deprived of seeing your blog which I love! Consider me a new follower.
    Hugs, Cindy~
    By the way, it was quite a thrill to see my Bea button as well. Thank you again!

  5. Oh lavender, how I love it, how it hates me. Each year I attempt all kinds, in every soil imaginable to no avail. So if I ever did get it to grow, I couldn't possibly use it to make your wonderful shortbread recipe. I couldn't spare a sprig! But what a lovely post and tribute to Lavender. I love the Cecily Mary Barker fairy as well.

  6. Hello Cassandra, I have lavender blooming in my garden right now. When is the best time to harvest the flowers? I would love to try this recipe as I have never eaten anything with lavender.

    Kindly, ldh

  7. Dear ldh ~ Definitely try to use the earliest, freshest and most aromatic blooms for best flavor - not only for the shortbread, but also for the flavored powdered sugar and lemonade. I like to sprinkle the powdered sugar on the shortbread just before serving for best effect. I have also put the lavender powdered sugar in small antique glass salt/pepper shakers to present as gifts with the boxes of shortbread! I have not tried it, but I expect that if you want to carefully wrap and freeze some of the shortbread, you could thaw and use later - might be worth trying...Would love to hear of your results with this wonderful recipe! Cassandra ♥


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