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
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