Lavender, as an ingredient, is a little controversial.
Most people I know either love it or hate it. There is little room in between. With its clean floral aroma, and a flavor that reminds me of rosemary with out the vociferous pine aftertaste, lavender can be delightful if used properly. As with anything, too much can ruin a dish. Do it right and you end up with something subtle, fragrant, and beautiful.
My favorite flavor to pair with lavender is honey. Honey has herbaceous characteristics that, depending on the type you buy, compliment lavender and adds to its unique appeal. For fun I decided to add a few flakes of good quality sea salt to the tops of the cookies. Random bits of salt enhance not only the overall sweetness but the lavender flavor. These cookies are lovely, moist, and crumbly and due to the honey they keep fresh longer than other cookies. May I suggest eating these with some hot Earl Grey tea? You won’t be disappointed.
Salted Honey Lavender Shortbread Yield 16 cookies
7 1/4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
5/8 ounce (2 tablespoons) corn starch
2 1/4 ounces (1/3 cup) sugar
6 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons good quality honey (lavender preferred)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lavender
1/2 teaspoon flake sea salt, or to taste
Heat the oven to 350 F and spray an 8 x 8″ pan with non-stick spray, line with parchment paper leaving a three inch overhang on either side, and spray the parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, cornstarch, honey, kosher salt, vanilla, lavender, and butter. Blend on low speed until well mixed and smooth.
Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Dock the top well with a fork, making sure not to press the fork completely though the dough.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center of the cookies feel firm with lightly pressed and they are golden brown all over. Allow the cookies to cool five minutes then evenly sprinkle the tops with sea salt. Allow to cool for and additional thirty minutes in the pan.
Using the parchment overhang lift the shortbread from the pan. With a sharp knife cut into 16 squares. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.