Upon returning from a restorative family trip to the Ojai Valley, I was inspired to bake cookies using aromatic Spring herbs and citrus that fill the air this time of year. The buttery undertones and neutral flavor of shortbread to allow the lavender, rosemary and orange to shine through. A simple orange icing really takes this cookie to the next level.
1/2 cup of butter
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp of dry lavender flowers
1 sprig of rosemary
juice of half an orange (about 4 Tbsp)
1 cup confectioners sugar
In a mortal and pestle, grind half of the sugar, 1 Tbsp lavender flowers and 1 tsp rosemary leaves. Grind until you get a slightly purple sugar.
In a bowl or mixer, cream together the butter and the rest of the sugar. Add the lavender/rosemary sugar using a sifter to hold back any bits that didn’t grind down. Add the vanilla extract, zest of one orange, some whole lavender flowers for color, and blend. Add the sifted flour and salt. Mix well. Add the juice of half an orange and blend again.
Place the dough in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least half of an hour, allowing the butter to firm up and the flour to fully hydrate and come together so the dough is workable.
In the meantime, make the icing by mixing the juice of the other half of the orange and the confectioners sugar. Mix with a fork or whisk until it becomes smooth. If it’s too thick add some more orange juice. If it’s too thin, add some more sugar.
Place the dough on a surface dusted with confectioners sugar. Using your fingers, spread it to flatten it. Roll it to 1/4 inch thick with a rolling pin. Using a cookie cutter (I used the lid of a small mason jar), cut as many cookies as you can and transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet. Gather up the scraps and re-roll the dough the same way as before and cut more cookies, repeating until you’ve used all the dough.
Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Watch them carefully, as you don’t want them to color, you just want them to crisp up. Remove from oven and immediately transfer them to a cooling rack. Let them cool at least 20-30 minutes before icing or else the icing will just run off. Once cool, drop a teaspoon of icing on top and sprinkle with lavender flowers.