Before I begin this post I'd like to say that if you read our blog, to us, you are so much more than a reader, a viewer, a follower, or a subscriber. Those are terms that we leave for our daily statistics. In our minds and hearts, if you come to visit us and stay for more than a few minutes, you are our friend, and we love you.
One of the most flattering things that can happen to a food blogger/recipe developer is receiving a request to make something special from one of our friends. It always makes me feel thankful when friends come back to leave a comment about how much he/she and his/her family and friends loved one of our recipes. But when a friend asks us to make a specific recipe, that makes us sit back and absorb the magnitude of what we’ve done these past eighteen months, and where we’re going; because those requests mean that our friends are enjoying the food we make as much as we do. It also means that they trust and respect us, and that, is a beautiful thing.
A few weeks ago, one of our dear friends from the other side of the pond (the UK), asked us to create a lavender seed cookie. She had a big bag of lavender flower seeds that she wanted to use, so she asked us if we’d make a light summer cookie that she could have with tea. Well, we could never say no to our dear friend Enfys, so of course I immediately set out to find lavender seeds.
The Spice House in Chicago is a lovely store that stocks the most amazing spices, and thankfully, they had English lavender seeds. Because I had never baked with lavender seeds before, I had to do a little research, and I learned that English lavender is best for baking. So with a bag of lavender seeds and a tube of Madagascar vanilla beans in hand, I set out to make vegan lavender and vanilla bean shortbread cookies.
My first attempt was a miserable failure. I tried using coconut butter (I always go for the healthiest version possible) instead of vegan butter, but the dough was crumbly and wouldn’t roll out, so I had to toss it in the trash.
The second round was a success. Sometimes you just have to stick with what you know will work, and shortbread cookies are supposed to be made with butter. Lesson learned.
The vegan butter (I use Earth Balance soy free buttery sticks because they don't have trans fats) shortbread cookie dough rolled out perfectly. I rolled the dough until it was about an eighth of an inch thin and then I used a two inch round cookie cutter to make perfect little discs.
To make the cookies extra special and perfect for a summer tea cookie I used edible pansies to decorate them. After the cookies were baked and slightly cooled, I put the flowers on the cookies, brushed a tiny bit of olive oil on them so the petals stuck to the cookie, then put them in the oven for a minute or two until the olive oil adhered the flower to the cookie. The petals shrunk slightly from the heat, but they still looked beautiful.
Because I have never baked with lavender seeds I didn’t know how much to put into the dough, which meant that my fingers were crossed that I didn’t have to scrap the entire batch if they were too strong, or didn’t taste at all like lavender when I took the first bite of cookie. Soooo, being the chicken that I am, I deferred the first bite to my son. I knew that he’d either make a face and spit it out or he’d nod and hum and keep on chewing. He did the latter, I nailed it!
Let’s just say that vegan lavender and vanilla bean shortbread cookies are my new obsession. Thank you Enfys! I can’t even describe how delicate and flavorful these are. You can taste the lavender, but it’s not a strong, in your face kind of taste. It’s light, but not too light. And the vanilla bean is there, but it doesn’t fight with the lavender. And the texture is light and crisp, just like a shortbread cookie should be. There is also that light layer of olive oil on top. It’s not at all greasy, but it does add a slightly savory element that’s so perfect for a tea cookie.
My husband loves them. He’s eaten most of them with his morning coffee, so there are only two (out of 28) lonely cookies left this morning. When I’m finished sharing this recipe with you I’m going to brew a pot of tea and sit down and savor both of them on my patio. Again, thank you Enfys. If not for your lovely request I would never have created these delicious and delicate tea cookies.
What is your favorite cookie?
Have you ever baked or cooked with lavender seeds?
Do you have any favorite food that you want us to veganize?
Lavender and Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of finely ground sea salt
- 2 sticks or 16 tablespoons of vegan butter – room temperature I use Earth Balance soy free buttery sticks
- ½ cup of coconut palm sugar or vegan sugar
- 1 Madagascar vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract – split the bean in half and scrape the seeds from the bean
- 1 tablespoon of English lavender flower seeds – crush the seeds between your fingers as you put them in the dough
- 1 package of edible pansies – stems removed and washed and gently patted dry
- 3 tablespoons of olive oii
- In a medium bowl whisk the flour and salt until combined. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl mix the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean or extract until well blended. Slowly add the flour until just combined. Add the lavender seeds (crush between your fingers as you add them to the bowl) and blend until they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Roll the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Split the dough in half. Leave half out and wrap and put the other half back in the refrigerator.
- Spread a few tablespoons of flour on a non-stick surface and roll one of the halves of the cookie dough with a rolling pin until it’s an ⅛ of an inch thick. Cut out with a 2 inch round cookie cutter and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. The first half of the dough should make approximately 12 to 16 cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack and let cool for a few minutes. Put a flower on the center of the cookie and gently brush with a light layer of olive oil. Put back in the oven for 1 or 2 minutes until the flower adheres to the cookie. The petals will shrink slightly.
- Use a spatula to remove the cookies from the baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack until they’re completely cool.
- Repeat the process with the second half of the cookie dough.
- Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days for optimum freshness. Freeze in an air tight container for up to one month.