Saturday, June 25, 2005

Lavender time!!!

Lavender is one of my favorite herbs. It has such a great fragrance, and the colors of the various species are all so pretty. There is never less than a pound of dried lavender in the house, and there are 7 or 8 plants of it in the garden. Grosso is probably my favorite to grow because the spikes are huge, dark purple, and the stems are over a foot high.
A couple culinary recipes:

Lavender Syrup
Make lavender tea using the darkest purple buds you can lay your hands on. Add the water to sugar in the following proportions- 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Cool, and pour into sterilized bottles. Cap. Refrigerate after opening.

Lavender Shortbread
1 1/2 c butter
2 1/3 c flour
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c cornstarch
2 T chopped lavender flowers
1 T chopped fresh mint
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 325 F. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment. 
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, lavender and mint. Mix until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). 
Add flour, cornstarch and salt, and beat until combined. 
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 3/8". 
Cut the dough into 1-1/2" squares or rounds. Space cookies about 1" apart on baking sheet. Prick each several times with a fork. Bake 20-25 minutes until light golden. Do not brown. Cool slightly, then transfer to rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in cookie tins or sealed container.
Makes about 5 dozen.

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