Lavender and Lemon Shortbread

19 Jun

This was supposed to be Monday’s post.

But somehow, while the weekend seems to come after a very long and slow week, it passes too quickly. Monday morning finds me sleepy and exhausted, with my weekend to-do list full of things that have not been crossed off (laundry? sorting out the junk drawer? sorting out my winter/summer clothes?). Until recently, I was spending my weekends as a couch potato, staring at the ceiling or watching tv until my eyes fell off, but lately I’ve been doing the opposite. I start my weekend by hanging upside down from the ceiling and stare at the floor, for a change. And I bake. I used to be a party animal, but lately I’ve become a pastry animal. Oh, and I am really good and quick at cleaning up after the mess I create in the kitchen (no-one had warned me that behind those beautiful pics you see on blogs, there is a huge mess).

If you are wondering, the lavender I’ve used in this recipe is not leftover from (not) sorting out my winter/summer clothes. This is suitable for culinary use and has no extra chemicals. You can also make some tea with it, I read somewhere that it may help with stress, headache, tension. Its use in the shortbread adds a unique floral flavor and compliments the lemon. You should be careful when using lavender though, cause too much  may taste like eating a moth repellent.

I also made a lemon curd to accompany the shortbread and it really made a difference as the cold curd refreshes you from the dryness of the shortbread and the heat.

A few words about the recipe:

  • as I mentioned before, the lavender used here is for culinary use and has no extra chemicals
  • the shortbread recipe is pretty easy and straightforward, part of the flour has been substituted with corn flour for a melt-in-the mouth texture
  • it’s really important to use good quality butter and vanilla for the shortbread (it will affect the taste)
  • instead of cutting the shortbread with cookie cutters, I used a tart pan (23cm) instead, which saved me time as the dough is really delicate and a bit hard to work with, in hot weather
  • the lemon curd is really easy and quick to make (it will take you no more than 10-15 mins, I promise)

Lavender and Lemon Shortbread

recipe from Sweetapolita

Ingredients

1 ½ cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
½  κούπα (75 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)
¼ tsp. (2 grams) teaspoon salt
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ 60 grams) powdered sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp dried lavender (I used about 2 tsp)
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed, the butter until it is smooth and very creamy, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar and beat for another 2 minutes.

Beat in the vanilla extract, then stir in the dried lavender and lemon zest.

Stir in the dry ingredients (flour, corn flour and salt) and mix until they are incorporated. Make a ball of the dough and seal in plastic wrap. Once in the wrap, flatten the dough into a disk and chill for one hour (at least–can be longer).

When you’re ready to roll and cut the cookie dough, preheat oven to 170°C and place the oven rack in the middle position. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough 1/4″ (0.5cm) thick on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut desired shapes, place on baking sheets and chill in the refrigerator or freezer for about 15 minutes. (Or in my case, I pressed the dough in a tart pan, pricked the surface with a fork and with a sharp knife scored the top of the shortbread into wedges. I chilled it in the freezer for 10 minutes)

Bake until very light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes (I baked the tart pan for 30-35 mins, then placed the shortbread round on a cutting board and cut along the lines scored earlier).

Let cool on cookie sheets on wire racks

Lemon Curd

from Joy of Baking

3 large eggs
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp (56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp lemon zest

In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended.

Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce or until it reaches 71 degrees C). This will take approximately 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps.

Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn’t form) and refrigerate for up to a week.

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