Fresh or dried lavender flowers give these buttery cutouts a unique floral flavor and festive look.
1 tablespoon fresh or dried lavender flowers*
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
Sanding sugar (natural, white or colored) for decorating
* Fresh or dried lavender flowers can be found in health food stores, herb and
spice markets, or through on-line baking supply retailers.
In a small food processor (or with a mortar and pestle), grind lavender flowers
with the granulated sugar.
Combine the butter and lavender-sugar in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer
or wooden spoon,
cream together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Add flour and salt and blend until combined taking care not to over mix (dough
should be soft but not sticky).
Separate dough into two balls and wrap in plastic, flattening each into a flat
disc and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. (The dough can also
be frozen for months and baked in batches by bringing it to temperature in the refrigerator
Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove only once disc at a time from the refrigerator, and roll dough on a lightly
floured surface with a floured rolling pin to approximately 1/4-inch thick. Cut
into desired shapes with cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheets. Decorate
with sanding sugar and/or lightly press a lavender sprig or leaf into the cookie
and top. (To keep intricate shapes intact, refrigerate baking sheet with shaped
cookies for 10 minutes before baking).
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to lightly brown
around the edges.