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Chocolate Drizzled Lavender Shortbread

As you may know, I love to cook with lavender. It is so aromatic, and adds sophistication to otherwise ordinary desserts. Lavender is also a favourite of my mom’s, and so, in honour of mother’s day, I made her these shortbread fingers infused with lavender and drizzled with bittersweet chocolate. The are buttery and subtly sweet, and the lavender flavour shines through, without being overpowering. Whether for mother’s day, or any day, these cookies are perfect for an elegant afternoon tea, a thoughtful hostess gift, or a reward at the end of a long day. Lavender is said to relax the mind, so why not whip up a batch for someone in your life who needs a break from all the hard work they do for you. This recipe will make about 30 1″x4″ fingers. You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp lavender flowers
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 pound room temperature butter
  • 1 1/4 cups super fine sugar (fruit sugar, caster sugar etc.)
  • 1/4 cup high quality bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line your baking pans with parchment paper so that it comes up the sides. I used one 9″x13″ pan, and one loaf pan, but you can use whatever you have around that will fit all of your dough. In a food processor, pulse lavender flowers until they begin to break down. Don’t worry if many of your flowers are still intact, the purpose of the pulsing is mainly to release their aroma.By now, your kitchen should smell like heaven.

In a medium bowl, combine your lavender with both flours and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they are fully combined.

In a large bowl, beat butter until it is fluffy. Slowly add in sugar, and continue beating until you have a light, airy mixture. With your hands, slowly add the flour mixture, and toss it together with your fingers until you have a crumbly dough.

Spread the dough between your pans, and press it down until you have a flat, even surface. Your dough should be about 3/4″ thick. Prick holes in your dough with a fork, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove your pans from the oven, and score your dough into rectangles roughly 1″x4″. Scoring the dough while your cookies are still soft will make it easier to cut them when they are finished. Return your pans to the oven, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

When the surface of your dough is firm to the touch, your cookies are ready. Remove them from the oven, and score them again. Once they have cooled completely, cut them into fingers.

here's my mom, observing the process (and taste testing)

Now it is time to temper your chocolate. Tempering is a process by which chocolate is heated, then cooled, and then reheated to ensure that it crystallizes in the ideal form. To melt your chocolate, place 2/3 of it in a zipper bag, and microwave it for 20 seconds. Remove the bag from the  microwave, and squish the chocolate around. Repeat this process until all of the chocolate has melted. Add the remainder of your chocolate to cool down the melted chocolate and squish it around in the bag. Once it has melted, microwave it for another 15 seconds.

Line up your shortbread fingers, cut a small hole in the corner of your zipper bag, and drizzle chocolate back and forth across your cookies. Don’t go overboard: you still want the lavender to be the star flavour. Let the chocolate cool fully at room temperature, and prepare your cookies to give or serve.

Happy mother’s day to all of the moms out there, particularly mine! I hope you take this day as an opportunity to relax, with or without the aid of lavender shortbread.

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Filed under cookies, holidays, new flavours

Cupcake Sugar Cookies

I was inspired to make these adorable cookies when I received a cute cupcake cookie cutter as a gift. You can buy a set of two here : http://www.crateandbarrel.com/kitchen-and-food/measure-mix-bake/set-of-2-cupcake-cookie-cutters/s463429. To make the cookies, I used my favourite sugar cookie recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.

After covering the cookies with icing, I scattered a few rainbow sprinkles on the top half, and stuck a cinnamon heart on top to look like  a cherry. Give them a try with your favourite sugar cookie recipe!

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Filed under cookies