2011 was a lot of trail and error with regard to baking. While the majority of the final products were quite delicious, far too many of my confections didn't quite turn out as planned. This year, I took a much more strategic approach. Each of my recipes was developed and and adapted using some the new techniques I've learned recently (thank you James and my wonderful birthday gift of Modernist Cuisine for helping me understand the science and the why behind cooking) and I'm more than pleased with the outcome.
The first recipe I want to share is my buttery, crumbly, not too sweet Lavender Shortbread. The following will yield about 20 cookies, but can easily be increased to up to 4 times in a standard Kitchen Aid Mixer.
1 stick of room temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup demerara sugar (white sugar will also work)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup of whole wheat all purpose flour
1/4 cup of corn starch
1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons dried lavender flowers, divided
2 tablespoons sanding sugar (white sugar will also work)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cream your butter in a stand mixer for 3 minutes to incorporate air pockets and add demerara sugar
- In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, corn starch and salt
- Add 2 tablespoons of lavender into the butter and sugar mixture and continue to mix on low speed
- Add vanilla bean paste and combine well
- Slowly incorporate your dry ingredients 1/4 cup at a time until well combined into a sticky dough
- Turn out the dough onto a silicone pastry mat and gently kneed to incorporate any dry pockets
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and form 1 1/2 inch balls, smoothing the surface of each
- Press each ball to about 1/4 inch thick and sprinkle with remaining lavender and sanding sugar
- Bake for 18 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden brown at the feet (all ovens differ to watch your first batch carefully)
The packaging is a Ziploc bag with scrapbook paper and a printed name label stapled over the top. I think it makes a clean presentation and keeps the cookies fresh and delicious.