I was standing in my kitchen this morning drinking my first cup of coffee and looked out into the backyard to see what kind of day it was going to be. The sun was just starting to come up, and even though the weather report I just watched said it was near freezing, it seemed deceivingly warm. I continued to scan the yard, noticing how the light was getting brighter when I saw something that made me stop short. My husband had brought his lemon tree under the awning to protect it from the cold, the same tree he has been growing for 3 years without a single lemon. Hanging from one of the lower branches, in plain sight, was a bright yellow lemon just right for picking. It didn’t take me more than a few seconds to realize how we would celebrate this momentous occasion – Lemon Lavender Shortbread!
I have been making this particular variation of shortbread for a couple of years now and every time I do it gets rave reviews. Classic shortbread, if you’ve never made it, is super easy and contains only 3 ingredients – butter, sugar and flour. Because of its simple nature, there are so many adaptations and flavors you can add to come up with something new. I created this recipe after receiving a jar of French lavender as a gift and wanted to try it in something. I added a couple of pinches to a batch of lemon shortbread I was making and have made it that way ever since. If you don’t have or don’t want to go find the lavender (mine is from Williams-Sonoma), the lemon shortbread is delicious on its own. Or you could try adding fresh rosemary as an alternative. Enjoy with a cup of tea or with fresh berries and whipped cream as a simple dessert.
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 pinches dried lavender
1 cup flour (unsifted)
Cream the butter until it is light. Cream in the powdered sugar, grated lemon peel and lavender. Now work in the flour. Knead the dough on an unfloured board until nice and smooth. This is a very dry dough, so don’t be alarmed if it seems a little crumbly at first. As you work with it, the dough will come together. Spray shortbread pan very lightly with a non-stick vegetable oil spray. Firmly press the dough into the shortbread pan. Prick the entire surface with a fork and bake at 325 for about 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let the shortbread cool in its pan for about 10 minutes before you loosen the edges with a knife and flip the pan over onto a wooden cutting board. If the shortbread does not come right out. tap one edge of the pan. Cut the shortbread into serving pieces while it is still warm. Enjoy!