Lavender shortbread is a type of sweet bread, usually made into cookies, which contains lavender petals for a subtle flavoring. Shortbreads are unleavened, or non-rising, breads, which are normally used to make sweet desserts or snacks. Lavender is a type of flowering plant of the same color used for cooking and medicinal applications.
Dried or fresh lavender blossoms can be used for lavender shortbread. The lavender is usually chopped or shredded before use. White sugar, cornstarch, and flour are also necessary. Additionally, butter, usually unsalted, is essential for proper lavender shortbread. Fresh herbs, such as mint, may also be included, and salt is normally added as well.
Some versions may also included confectioner's, or powdered, sugar or lemon zest. An egg wash may be made to thinly coat the bread before it is baked, helping to create a golden appearance to the finished sweet. Washes may be created by simply beating eggs or combining beaten eggs with water or a dairy product.
To make lavender shortbread, the butter and sugar are creamed together. Creaming involves gradually beating the sugar into the butter to create a light and fluffy texture, which helps the cooked bread to be light as well. After creaming, the lavender can be added. If lemon zest or fresh herbs are included, they are usually mixed with the lavender before being included in the butter mixture. Then, the other ingredients are added, and the mixture is kneaded into a smooth dough.
Once kneaded, the dough may be wrapped and chilled before being worked with or may be worked with immediately. The dough can be rolled and cut into bars or cookie shapes or shaped into a log and placed in a pan. Cutting can be done with a knife or a cookie or biscuit cutter. If cut, the cookies are placed on a cookie sheet and baked, otherwise the log is baked in a pan and sliced after it has been cooked. Some versions sprinkle the surface of the shortbread with white sugar or lavender sugar.
Occasionally, the cook may need to deflate the dough halfway through baking. Deflating is accomplished by shaking the pan until the rising dough collapses. Most versions do not require deflating, however. In properly cooked lavender shortbread, only the edges should be brown, and the finished cookies or logs can be garnished with sprinkled sugar or fresh lavender sprigs. Shortbread can be eaten immediately or kept for over a month if frozen.