The warming temperatures of late spring and early summer bring my backyard lavender plants into full bloom. It is truly a delight to sit on the patio and have their gentle scent waft on the air as I sit with a book, absorbing the heat that has finally returned. These cookies bring to mind that same experience. The tang of lemon is reminiscent of bright sunshine on one’s face, while the lavender of the shortbread remains a subtle but pleasant undertone.Jump to Recipe
These cookies make a great dessert to serve at any refined event. The shortbread is crisp and sturdy yet it melts in your mouth – the perfect cookie to eat alongside a cup of Earl Grey tea. Whether these are for a baby shower, a bridal shower, or a Jane Austen festival, your friends will be glad you brought them.
In order to get that subtle lavender flavor, I use culinary lavender buds. Lavender is a surprisingly strong flavor, and a very small amount goes a long way. Some people choose to use lavender oil, but I’ve found that it imparts too strong a “perfume” essence than would appeal to a very wide audience.
Besides the obvious culinary lavender, you’ll need a few other ingredients, including granulated sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, all-purpose flour, and cornstarch. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need unsalted butter. I recommend using the highest quality butter that is practical for you because compared to other cookies, shortbread gets a much larger proportion of its flavor from butter. I tend to use Kerrygold unsalted butter, but any unsalted butter will work.
The glaze requires significantly fewer ingredients – just powdered sugar and lemon juice. If you would prefer a more lavender-forward cookie, you could eliminate the lemon juice and substitute milk and vanilla extract to create a vanilla glaze.
Now for the assembly! Start by placing your culinary lavender buds into a blender, pulsing until they have transformed into a fine powder. Add the granulated sugar and pulse 2-3 more times, until the sugar is slightly more fine and the two are thoroughly combined.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the lavender sugar with powdered sugar and softened butter. Cream this mixture together before beating in the vanilla bean paste.
In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, and salt. Slowly pour this into your lavender batter while mixing continuously.
Split your dough in half. Form each half into a log roughly 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic or wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (The longer you can chill the dough, the better results you will have. Due to their high butter content, these cookies tend to spread unless they are very cold when baked.)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. After the dough has been chilled, remove one log from the refrigerator and slice it into ¼ inch thick cookies using dental floss or a sharp knife. Wait to slice the second log until just before you are ready to bake that set of cookies.
Transfer your sliced cookies to a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-18 minutes, watching closely. The cookies are done when the edges just begin to turn brown. Once they are done baking, transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
While the cookies are cooling, prepare your glaze. Whisk together lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl, mixing vigorously until no lumps remain.
There are two different ways you can frost these cookies – either by pouring and spreading, or by dunking. With the pour and spread method, place a piece of wax paper underneath your wire cooling rack. Use a spoon or a fork to gently drizzle the cookies with glaze, then use a toothpick or fork to spread the glaze to the edges of the cookie. Some of the glaze will probably drip over the edges of the cookies – thus the suggested wax paper placed under the wire rack.
The second – and probably the easier – icing procedure is the dunking method. Firmly grasp each cookie along its edges with a clean hand. Place it facedown in your bowl of glaze, then gently lift it up and allow the excess glaze to drip back into the bowl. Place the iced cookie face-up on the wire rack or a piece of wax paper. This method provides a more thin, even coating of glaze, and tends to reduce the amount of glaze wasted in the icing process.
Whichever icing method you use, garnish with lavender buds or lemon zest and allow the cookies to dry completely before storing or serving. The thicker your glaze, the longer the cookies will take to dry.
Congratulations – your lavender shortbread cookies are glazed and ready to eat! What event will you make them for? Feel free to tag @WhiskAverseBaking in any of your cookie-related posts on social media, or leave a message in the comments below with any questions you may have.
Lavender Shortbread with Lemon Glaze
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons culinary lavender buds
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- Place culinary lavender buds into a blender and pulse until they have transformed into a fine powder. Add granulated sugar and pulse 2-3 times, until the sugar is slightly more fine and the two are thoroughly combined.
- Cream together butter, lavender sugar, and powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla bean paste.
- In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, and salt. Slowly mix this into your lavender batter.
- Split your dough in half. Form each half into a log roughly 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic or wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Longer is better)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. After the dough has been chilled, remove from the refrigerator and slice each log into ¼ inch thick cookies using dental floss or a sharp knife.
- Transfer sliced cookies to a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-18 minutes, watching closely. The cookies are done when the edges just begin to turn brown.
- Remove cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- While the cookies are cooling, prepare your glaze. Whisk together lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Pour glaze over cooled cookies. Garnish cookies with lemon zest and lavender flowers, if you so desire.