These were born out of a busy bnb week with a beautiful farmers market morning looming on the horizon. I knew I needed lots of baked goodies to make the most of the walking traffic on a cool, sunny summer day in my tiny town, but I also had to make food for a houseful of guests the morning of the market. Shortbreads were something that would still be amazing, perhaps even improve, if I made them the night before. And of course, as a farmer-baker, I always like to showcase an herb or fruit or something else that comes out of the gardens. And so this.
I loved the results. Lavender smells more than tastes, but then when the bite is finished, it lingers on the tongue and coats the mouth, with a hint of vibration, almost like mint. Cocoa has a similar effect, and the result is that the shortbread is a bit of a stimulant. Lavender in aromatherapy is generally used for calming, but in larger doses especially, is understood to be a circulatory and immune stimulant. These cookies are medicine, if you need a bit of a pick-me-up, and just might banish a minor bout of anxiety as well. I thought they'd be a bit bitter-chocolate and unsweet for children, but the kids as the market came back for seconds.
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoon baking cocoa
2 tbsp dried lavender flowers or 3 tbsp chopped fresh leaves
Coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 300 F. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, then add vanilla & mix well. In another bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa and lavender, then add to creamed mixture, beating just til dough holds together. Divide dough in half, setting each on a square of waxed paper. Shape, by turning, flattening and adjusting sides, into 2 circles 1/2 inch thick. Chill briefly, 10 min, or wrap and keep for up to a week in the fridge before continuing. Using a large heavy knife, or a bench scraper, cut each disc into 8 triangles. Move carefully, using a spatula, to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch between cookies. Prick each shortbread several times with a fork. Sprinkle each shortbread with coarse sea salt. Bake 20-25 minutes or until set. Watch carefully so as to not dry out. Set sheets on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then remove shortbread to wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle sparingly with thick vanilla glaze. (1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, heavy cream dripped in to achieve consistency that drips slowly off the whisk.)