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Recipes & Food Styling

What to do with all that Lavender? 

Make Lavender shortbread cookies! Cookies are a great way to showcase some of those wonderful herbs you’ve been growing all summer. Add about a quarter cup of your best lavender buds to your favorite basic shortbread cookie recipe. My mom’s Shortbread Cookie recipe is included below. I added lavender buds and the cookies turned out wonderful. Sugar crystals really work well with the lavender buds in the cookies.

Shortbread cookies are the traditional “garnish” that is served with the Robert Burns cocktail. I had my first Robert Burns cocktail at John Jacob Astor IV’s Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City, and I was so surprised when the bartender set down a plate of cookies next to my cocktail. “No charge for the sidekick,” he said, “a Robert Burns just isn’t the same without the cookies!” I could not agree more, and so I sprinkled lavender buds in a Robert Burns cocktail to serve with these Lavender cookies. Lavender gives this otherwise wintery duo a nice summery twist. What do you like to put in your shortbread cookies?

Robert Burns Cocktail 

2 oz. blended Scotch whiskey
1 oz. vermouth
2 dashes absinthe
1 dash Regans’ Orange
Bitters No. 6
lemon twist, for garnish
shortbread cookie on side

Combine whiskey, vermouth, absinthe, and bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain mixture into a chilled Martini glass.

—Frank Caiafa, The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book

Lavender Shortbread Cookies (for the Robert Burns)

1 cup or 2 sticks butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup Lavender buds

2 cups ground pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Using a hand-held mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla; gradually add in flour and salt. Cream until the mixture is fluffy and light. Add the lavender. Using your hands, mix the lavender buds into the dough thoroughly.  

Roll the cookie dough in your hands into 1-inch balls. Place the balls evenly apart on a buttered cookie sheet. Use the palm of your hand to press down each ball.

Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until edges become lightly browned. Then remove the cookies, and let them cool on a cooling rack.

Place three cookies on a bread plate alongside the cocktail.