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

+flour


+ 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.


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!

The New Adventures of Old Shortbread & the Arrival of Adulthood…

 

…but mostly upperclassman-dom and off-campus living. Welcome to my new living abode, and more importantly, my new kitchen. It’s quite small; I feel a bit like Smitten Kitchen, minus a few years and a book tour. This little thing is shared among 4 girls. The home of new creations, old family recipes, and college-edition Chopped competitions…we’ll see about that one.
I’ve already made some meat stew for my rice, for the first time all myself. It…tastes great! But I’m gonna have to refine the texture a bit, making fewer chunks and thicker soups. So once I’ve made it to my satisfaction you can expect a post on that, hopefully soon.
But, of course, in the first week of my habitation in an APARTMENT OOOO, I’ve baked cookies. And I…wait for it…created another recipe!…though it’s hard to screw up shortbread. Crunchy, buttery, flaky! What could be better? I know! Add peanut butter, naturally. I got really excited when I tried Wegmans’ organic peanut butter because it was just as peanut buttery as inorganic peanut butter. If you’ve ever tried organic peanut butter expecting the same texture as Skippy’s, you likely experienced a rude shock when you had trouble unclenching your teeth. In short, organic peanut butter is thick as fudge and the point of any of this is that I added peanut butter to your basic shortbread recipe and it was great. The end.
Due to short-notice/impromptu dinner guests, I was stuck to figure out what to make with what was in the kitchen already. This is what went through my head and hands for 20 minutes upon entering the kitchen:

  1. It’s me we’re talking about, if I present a baked good, people will neither be surprised nor complain
  2. No chocolate chips again, no problem. Time for that handy dandy peanut butter!
  3. Ok, sugar and butter in bowl…why do I have a feeling there’s no baking powder…
  4. …there’s no baking powder. Okay, okay…cookies without baking powder?
  5. Shortbread. Done. Wait that’s boring. Peanut butter.
  6. Honey.
  7. Bag of pretzels on fridge…yeah let’s use that.
  8. Should make double this….nah.

They were a massive hit (as if the combo of shortbread and peanut butter weren’t completely revolutionary!). In the meantime, I’ll be needing some baking powder. Look forward to more baking and cooking adventures of Carmen and circle apartment xxxxx. Here are some mean peanut butter pretzel shortbread cookies while we wait.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Shortbread
Makes about 45 cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
5 large twist pretzels, or 10 mini twist pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 and grease two baking sheets
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour.
Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
Flatten the dough onto baking sheets. Crush pretzels and press into dough. Cut dough into pieces with a knife. Or, roll out onto flat surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutter(s), then press in pretzel pieces.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until top of dough browns.

I had the foresight to write out a recipe that was already doubled;
don’t worry about small masses of dough like this one!
I’m getting excited about the windows in this apartment and their positioning
relative to the sun. #photonerdprobs #cantdealwithartificiallight
This is a cookie dough you I need extra self-discipline to not eat
because there’s no egg

 

So I may have burnt them a bit…keep an eye on them because I’m not 100%
on the 10 minutes…someone try them and let me know (this was 15).
A nice golden hour comes through our dining room every night.
Very okay with this (may need to work on this lighting for food, however)