Editor’s note: Rachel Candelaria has long had an interest in food and photography, showcased on her blog, Not Just Sweets, which she describes “as a chronicle of my culinary adventures in the kitchen”. She’s given InMenlo permission to highlight some of her musings and photos from time to time.
One of my favorite places in San Francisco is the Ferry Building, so I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t try Miette’s sweets until last year when a friend shared a bag of lavender shortbread cookies on the train ride home from a Giants game.
This Christmas a friend gave me dried lavender to bake with, which got me reminiscing. So I picked up a copy of Miette’s cookbook from the Woodside library (one of my favorite places in the Peninsula) and got to baking. These cookies are crisp and buttery with just a hint of lavender. But beware, once you start eating them it’s hard to stop.
A couple of tips about this recipe. First, do not roll the dough too thin or the cookies will spread too much. And, second, if you roll the dough between wax paper instead of on a floured surface, you can refrigerate and re-roll the dough scraps with no problem.
Finally, Miette suggests freezing the dough to help maintain the shape while cooking. Or you can be OCD like me: Upon removing the cookies from the oven, immediately transfer them to a cutting board, and use a sharp knife to trim the edges before putting the cookies on a rack to cool. Better yet, be like anybody besides me and forget about what the edges look like and just enjoy eating the cookies!
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Miette’s Lemon Shortbread recipe
– 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
– 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 6 tablespoons heavy cream
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, mix the sugar and lavender; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, butter, salt, and baking soda and beat on low speed until it resembles corn meal. Add the lavender sugar, cream, and vanilla and beat until just clumped together.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface (or between wax paper) into a 6-by-4-inch rectangle. Using a ruler, square the edges as much as possible. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-inch squares. Place them 2 inches apart on a parchment lined sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies until they are golden brown, 11-13 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Photo by Rachel Candeleria