lavender shortbread + lemonade

At the library yesterday, I picked up some promising books, with subjects ranging from medieval cookery to edible flowers. It’s comforting to know that even if you’re out of food, there are still flowers to be consumed.

Lavender comes from the Latin word “lavare”– to clean. This humble flower has been known to relieve ailments from anxiety to asthma to acne. It is known widely for its calming, cleansing properties. It is very easy to grow; we don’t maintain our backyard very well, but have three thriving bushes of it that produce lots of flowers.

This is a very simple shortbread recipe, and ours came out perfectly. We added more lemon rind and lavender than the recipe suggests, but it was still subtle enough. After creaming the butter and sugar together, you go straight to adding in the  flour, bit by bit (no leavening, no binders), and then your lemon and lavender.

Form the loose dough into a log, wrap it in wax paper, chill in the fridge, then just slice and bake. We sprinkled ours with sea salt before baking, which made quite a delightful difference. It was the perfect balance of flavor, with a soft yet crumbly texture.

Since we couldn’t help it, we made a lavender lemonade, too. It is even simpler to make: steep your flowers in hot water to make a lavender tea, and add it to your preference of a water-lemon-sugar mix.

We are overflowing with lemons this time of year, as springtime is just around the corner and we start spreading picnic blankets.

The Ides of March are past us; we have lavender to help us be calm and clean. We hope you will make these lovely shortbread cookies and this lemonade.

Lemon Lavender Shortbread:

adapted from Kitty Morse

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to sprinkle on top
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp lemon zest, or of 1 medium lemon
2 tbsp lavender blossoms, picked apart

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the flour and salt bit by bit, then add the lemon and lavender. Form dough into a log shape and wrap in wax paper. Chill for 2 hours in the fridge, then slice onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 20 minutes. We made our log short and thick, cutting thick slices, and came out with 12 cookies, but you should be able to come up with 24 by splitting the log in two, or cutting thinner slices.

Lavender Lemonade:

adapted from Kitty Morse

Be sure to adjust the lemon/sugar/water ratio to your taste. We like it fairly tart, but perhaps you like yours milder.

5 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup lavender blossoms

Bring a cup of water to a rolling boil, add lavender and remove from heat. Let it steep for at least 10 minutes, while you mix the lemon, sugar, and remaining 4 cups of water together. Strain the lavender from the water, and pour the tea into the lemonade mix. Adjust the ratio to your taste, and serve with ice.

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