There’s a little market near my house in San Francisco that stocks an eclectic assortment of gourmet crackers, olive oils, prepared foods, and baked goods. One day, in dire need of a treat, I wandered in there, wondering if I would find anything to make me feel better. (It was one of those days.) And there on the counter near the door was a glass cookie jar filled with lavender fleur de sel shortbread. I had a feeling that would work as a mood elevator, and I was right. The flavor combination is fantastic, and lavender is very soothing. Aaah. I came up with this recipe so I could make the shortbread for myself whenever I need to de-stress. Look for culinary lavender at gourmet stores, or purchase one of my favorite kinds, from Matanzas Creek Winery in Santa Rosa, California, online at matanzascreek.com.–Christie Matheson
LC Simple Sophistication Note
We think you’ll agree that this shortbread, with its deceptively short list of ingredients, brings a certain Frenchie elegance to tea time. The lavender and fleur de sel add such a fancy-pants feeling that you may even feel compelled to serve the shortbread on your favorite china or to bring a touch of class to someone else’s day by wrapping the shortbread with pretty ribbons and dropping it off as a surprise—being certain to leave it where it won’t get stolen or, for that matter stepped on.
Lavender Fleur de Sel Shortbread
- Sift the flour and fine sea salt together in a small bowl.
- Combine the sugar and lavender in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix for 15 to 20 seconds to combine. Add the butter and mix until combined. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until it forms a soft dough.
- Shape the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut it into 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-inch shapes (circles, squares, or hearts) using a cookie cutter or knife. Place the shapes on the baking sheet, sprinkle with some fleur de sel, and place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes, until the dough is stiff.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Bake the lavender shortbread cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes on the sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. The shortbread keeps for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Originally published December 14, 2009