White (Chocolate) Drizzled Lavender Shortbread

My friend Rebecca requested a baked good for her recital reception that included lavender and white chocolate. Apparently, this is a fairly common combination. I still have a large amount of lavender from France in the pantry, so I was eager to find a winning recipe. But after much searching, I concluded that the best/least messy/most portable way to go was with shortbread. I made lavender shortbread before, for Christmas, but I wasn’t perfectly satisfied with the recipe…well there’s no time like the present for fixing!

Butter + sugar

+ lavender + salt


+ heat

I made them very cute-sized so many people could try at the reception, and drizzled Ghirardelli “Classic White Chips” over them. Nope, no chocolate! Don’t get it twisted though: to be classified as white chocolate, a confection must contain at least 20% cocoa butter. I guess Ghirardelli didn’t even bother with that, just sugar, oil, milk, soy, and vanilla. Interesting…enjoy to your liking!

White Chocolate Drizzled Lavender Shortbread
Makes 30 medium cookies

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cooking lavender, ground
2 cups flour
1 cup white chocolate chips

Combine butter and sugar with an electric mixer and set aside. Use a mortar and pestle or food processor to grind up the dried lavender. Add this with the salt to the butter and sugar. Gradually mix in the flour.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to around 1/4 inch in thickness and press out cookies with a cookie/biscuit cutter of your preferred size. Roll up leftover dough and repeat. Place on baking sheets and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.

At half power, microwave the chips in a bowl in 30 second intervals. When fully melted, place in a sandwich bag with a corner cut out. Drizzle quickly over lined-up shortbread ~ this may take a few tries but you’ll get the hang of it! The chocolate (or white) will make it on somehow.

That Sugar Sweet

     I still have all this cooking lavender from France, and have been reading about lavender sugar for a while, so I finally tried it. You should too. You don’t need to go to France to find lavender, though it helps. But so does Amazon. Why not go for some lemon sugar while we’re at it? YUM HERE WE GO.

 I started with a tablespoon of dried lavender for about three quarters of a cup of sugar, and quickly realized that would be too much. If you have a food processor, you can take some sugar and pulverize the lavender with it so it can mix better with the rest of the sugar. Or else, put your back into it with a mortar & pestle. I ended up with about a teaspoon of lavender for 3/4 cup of sugar, and it came out pretty strong, so adjust to your preferences!
I’ll agree that this unattractive pile of mashed lavender looks more like some herb (“herb”). But fret not! I promise it will do nothing but good and well fragranced things for you and your kitchen.

If you didn’t use a processor, it might look like you have ants in your sugar. If you did, I’m guessing your sugar may look different. If you want, you can sieve out the lavender when you’re satisfied with infusion, but you can also leave it. I think it looks kinda cool…#rustic. Not actually like ants.

I laaahve all things lemon, short of eating a slice of lemon. It has such a bright, strong flavor and it makes most every baked good better. Baked betters! Now it can make so much more, so much better. I put a teaspoon of lemon zest in a cup of sugar. Don’t worry when it gets chunky and moist – eventually the zest will dry out. Feel free to sieve the zest out too. 
     Now you have this weird spiced sugar. What the heck now? Goodness, the possibilities are endless! What do you usually use sugar for? Oatmeal (oatmeal forever <3), hot bevs, cold bevs, toast (lavender sugar is the new cinnamon sugar tbh), decoration. Just look at it, so pretty! And this works for refined sugar as well as raw cane sugar, which is what I used. It's better for you, by the way. Don't limit yourself to lemon and lavender – you can make other citrus sugars, spent vanilla bean pods, ginger…even more endless possibilities! Get creative and have fun with it.

ps – have you seen the video for “Sugar” by Maroon 5? I approve #onlyinLA

Christmas Cookies: Insta-dition

     Happy New Year! I hope dieting was not on your list of resolutions this year, because there are cookies coming your way. Many cookies! They’re all excellent. Since I was running around with flour hands for two days, I thought it best to stick to my phone for the majority of Christmas’s photo-documentation. As a result, I have created a fun photo/recipe link post à la Instagram. Though none of these photos has seen Instagram as of this moment, I edited these 12 photos on my phone as if they were going to be grammed. With minimal staging, and no further ado, I present the 2k14 Christmas cookies, in square format.

      First up: ginger molasses cookies! Or molasses spice, or gingersnaps. I go with the first because I make sure these come out nice and soft so they fall apart in your mouth/hand if you’re not careful. These are particularly great in the getting cold/freezing seasons, but make what you want, when you want. Recipe from Smitten Kitchen here.

      Round two: chocolate chunk cookies! Folks, I’ve been working hard at the next best recipe for these things. So many variables, so many tests, so many possibilities! I’ll give you a hint while I finalize the next post: brown butter, light folding. Vanilla beans don’t hurt, either. In the meantime, find out about all things chocolate in your chocolate chunk cookie here.

     This year’s MVC: the Citrus Snickerdoodle. Introduced to me by my friend Adriel, these cookies throw you for a loop, then make you question your relationship with snickerdoodles altogether. I asked for the recipe he used, but he geniusly made it himself – here’s what he wrote out for me:

Faux Citrus Snickerdoodles
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1 T. freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)

1/4 c. sugar, set aside
approx. 1 T. ground cinnamon, set aside

1) Preheat oven to 400°F.
2) Cream sugar, butter, eggs, & juices if using. Add flour, baking powder, salt, & zests.
3) Shape dough by scant tablespoonfuls into balls; roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
4) Place 2 in. apart on ungreased (dark) cookie sheet.
5) Bake until set, golden & slightly crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool cookies immediately on wire rack.

Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

Do make sure to chill this dough for a bit; it will make it a lot easier to work with.

     Winner of best wrap-up to 2014 goes to the lavender shortbread. You see, I brought back the lavender from my stay in France for the first half of the year (memories/mishaps found here), and tried my first lavender shortbread in San Francisco, where I spent the middle of the year. But I still have a whole bag of the stuff (taking suggestions now). Here’s the recipe that I doubled, with too much butter here. Will most likely have an updated recipe later because these were frachement excellents.

     No I did not arrange the sink like this, nor did I plan on taking a photo of it, but I thought it looked kinda cool so, here you go. Dishes.

Here’s to finding the mathematical equation for eating many baked goods while staying extremely fit, right? Happy New Year!