This recipe comes with a teeny lecture -- don't worry, it will be over quick! But let's talk about ingredients and how important they are any time you cook or bake something. It stands to reason that if you use higher quality ingredients to start with, you'll end up with something that tastes better in the end, right? Right. This is my plea to all people who want their homemade food to taste better: invest in better ingredients! It will make a difference. Now, I'm not saying that you have to buy everything from a gourmet shop that charges $35/pound for artisanal cheese, but there are definitely small swaps you can make that will make an impact.
That brings me to today's recipe, Lavender Shortbread Cookies. If you're familiar with shortbread, there is probably one thing that immediately comes to mind: butter! And rightfully so -- there is a LOT of butter in shortbread. So for this cookie, I'm going to recommend that you spend a few dollars more and pick up a good quality butter since it will really have the chance to shine. I love Kerrygold butter because it's richer and more flavorful than your generic store brand butter, but there are a ton of options out there!
I personally love the flavor of lavender, but I know that not everyone does -- feel free to omit the lavender here if it doesn't do anything for you. You could also play around with other flavors like orange zest or a warm spice, or you can just keep it simple and classic.
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Makes 14 2-inch cookies
2 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra
1 Tbsp. dried lavender
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks, or one package of Kerrygold)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the flour, lavender, and salt in a food processor. Pulse the ingredients together for about one minute to break up the lavender buds. Sift the mixture and discard any large pieces.
Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for at least 4 minutes until the mixture becomes fluffy and lightens in color. Turn down the speed to low and gradually incorporate the sifted flour mixture. Mix until the dough just comes together. If you are using a butter with higher fat content (as many high-quality butters have), you may need to add an additional Tablespoon or two so that the dough isn't too sticky. I added an additional 2 Tablespoons to the dough I made with Kerrygold.
If the dough is very soft, place the bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle a clean work surface with a small amount of flour and place your chilled dough on top. Roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thickness and cut out cookies with a shaped cookie cutter. Continue to re-roll and cut cookies until all dough is used, chilling the dough again in between if needed. Alternatively, you could roll out the dough and cut it into squares or rectangles.
Transfer the cookies to ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1/2-inch of space between them. Prick the cookies a few times with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.