Lavender Shortbread Cookies

These rich but not too sweet shortbread cookies have just a hint of sweet lavender fragrance and flavor. They are perfect to serve with tea, milk or lemonade. I make several batches to divide up and tuck into pretty decorative boxes or tins I’ve lined with pastel tissue paper. Be prepared to share the recipe — or, better yet, write it up on lavender-colored paper to include in the box.” — Renee Shepherd

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups (3/4 pound) butter, at room temperature (no substitutes)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons very finely chopped lavender florets (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cover bottoms of two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, lavender, and mint with an electric mixer. Mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour, cornstarch, and salt and beat until incorporated. Divide dough in half. Flatten into squares and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm.

On a floured board, roll or pat out each square to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut the dough into 1 1/2 -inch squares or rounds. Transfer to baking sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Prick each cookie several times with a fork. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until pale golden (do not brown). Cool slightly, then transfer to a rack. Sprinkle with lavender powdered sugar.

Garnish with lavender powdered sugar: Put a 4 or 5 sprigs of lavender flowers in a sealed jar with powdered sugar for a day before using the sugar.

YIELD: Makes about 4 dozen cookies

SOURCE: Renee Shepherd at Renee’s Garden