Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lavender butter cookies

Don't you love finding things in unexpected places?!?

Like random dilapidated bathrooms on the middle of the beach.

I literally stumbled upon this on a beach in SF. 
To this day I have no idea what these are remnants of...

Or a cute guy that keeps you company while you're standing outside of Wrigley Field, all by your lonesome, listening to music performed by the legendary Pink Floyd.

The exact scene of the crime... a few months later.

Or gorgeous nuggets of nature in the middle of an urban environment.

(*not actually located in Chicago)

Or a delicious recipe for lavender cookies being handed out at said botanical garden.

Pillow-like cookies

Although I consider myself a creature of habit, I do appreciate and savor those life moments when something a bit out-of-the-ordinary occurs. Finding a secret spot or meeting a boy when least expected- these are the times when I marvel at the exciting randomness that life throws my way. Which is why I couldn't resist making these cookies, even though I had NO idea how they'd turn out.

You see, a few weeks ago my activity partner and I rode our bikes into the botanical gardens for an art fest and general day of exploration. An 8-mile ride into the park, plus a few hours of walking around enjoying the park, and another 8-mile ride back to my car was definitely a perfect way of getting out of the hustle and bustle of Chicago for a day. And getting this free recipe for lavender cookies wasn't too shabby either, especially since lavender is one of my favorite flavors to bake with. (Check out this citrus cake with lavender cream, or my lavender ice cream, or lavender crostada, or even this lavender and candied orange friendship bread.)

In full disclosure, I'm typically not a cookie person (usually too sweet). And I tend to mess them up gloriously, ever since I was a kid. But I have had some successes on the blog in the past, and I'm happy to say that I can add these cookies to the success pile!

Baking powder keeps the mounds of cookies pillowy in shape, 
which is what makes their texture resemble a semi-cakey cookie

I can also add them to the ridiculously awesome pile, as they were freaking delicious. Not too crunchy yet not too soft. Not too sweet yet not too savory. Not too crispy yet not too cakey. Not too buttery yet not too dry. Not too lavender-y yet not too bland. Not too crumbly yet not too mushy.

The great thing too is if you don't like lavender, just don't add it. The base of the cookie is simply flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and baking powder. So you can adjust the flavors to whatever suits your taste buds. Maybe try it with a little bit of nutmeg or cinnamon instead. Or cardamom. Or anise. Or lemon zest. Or mini chocolate chips. Or candied orange peel. Or plain topped with sprinkles. Whatever your heart contents.

I myself, I loooooooove the lavender.

Yours in following a general plan in life, but leaving it flexible enough to savor the unexpected nuggets that life throws my way,

Lavender Butter Cookies, courtesy of The Spice House in Evanston (and handed out at the Chicago Botanical Gardens)
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies. I prefer baking cookies on the top or second to top racks in the oven to prevent over browning of the bottoms. This recipe will give enough for 2-3 baking sheets worth of cookies, but I froze half the batter and only made a single cookie sheet so I wouldn't have to worry about rotating pans, uneven baking, etc.

As I said, feel free to eliminate the lavender and replace with anything else your heart desires. 

1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp crushed lavender flowers
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make sure to place a rack on the top half of the oven.

1. Sift together the flour, lavender, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy, at least a few minutes. Mix in the eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is fully incorporated before adding in the second.

3. Dump the flour mixture into the butter/sugar/egg mixture and use a spatula to mix until the flour has JUST incorporated into the batter. (Do not overmix.)

4. Drop by teaspoonfulls onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or silpat covered cookie sheet). Bake at 375 for 10 - 13 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and starting to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool onto a baking sheet.

5. If you'd like to glaze your cookies, combine powdered sugar + a few tablespoons of water, milk, lemon juice, or any liquid you'd like to flavor the glaze, and spoon on top of the cookies. You'll need at least 1/2 cup of powdered sugar for 1-2 TBSP of liquid, and as much as 1+ cups if you prefer your glaze to be thicker and sweeter. I went with a light glaze that I brushed on to provide (a) just an extra hint of sweetness and (b) a "glue" so I could sprinkle the cookies with some extra lavender for flavor and general prettiness.


Amehlia Digital ® said...

Eu amo lavanda!
O perfume é uma delícia...
Seu biscoito ficou com aspecto perfeito!
Um beijo, Vinni

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