Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lavender Almond Tea Cookies

We all know that Lavender is an herb used in soaps and fragrances, but did you know that Lavender can be used in cooking and baking too? When I first saw a recipe that used lavender, I was intrigued. But I could not find food-grade lavender to buy anywhere locally (Lavender sold at garden stores may be sprayed with chemicals, so don't cook with it). I started growing my own, but you can easily order it online if you can't find it. The thing to remember with Lavender is that a little goes a long way. I happen to love the flavor and aroma, so I don't mind a strong lavender flavor. But many people find it overwhelming, so use it sparingly. This recipe calls for 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons.

These Lavender Almond Tea cookies are light and crispy, with a buttery flavor.

12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Almond extract
1 1/4 Cups All-purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons dried Lavender Flowers
Pinch salt

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt. Stir well. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and beat on low until blended. Add the lavender last, beating on low just until it is mixed in. Scrape the bowl down and gather up the dough, placing it on a sheet of plastic wrap. Pat the dough to flatten it a bit, and wrap it up in the plastic wrap. Chill 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters or cut into squares/diamonds with a knife. Optional: Brush with a small amount of water and then sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until very lightly browned at the edges, about 15 minutes.