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Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Reviewed: Jan. 17, 2009
Sure, fresh lavender is better, but sometimes dried is all you have. If so, and if you also have a food processor, run the dried lavender blossoms around in the processor, using a normal blade. Pause every few seconds and see how it's doing. What you're trying to do with this is separate the dried outer purple flowers from the tough seedy structures inside them. If it looks like that's happening, turn out the lavender into a wire mesh strainer and shake and toss it over a bowl. Most of the tough inner seedy bits should fall through, leaving the more desirable purple flowers. Naturally, you'll have to re-measure your separated lavender blossoms to get the right quantity for your cookies. The deprecated interior bits of the flowers still smell wonderfully of lavender. Keep those plus the leftover snipped mint and grated lemon rind -- I like to spread it on a plate to dry. When you feel like having a luxurious soak, put the leftover flavorings in a big tea ball and run your bathwater hot at first to get it steeping. As for the cookies? They're very good. I think I may try softening the butter, beating in aromatic herbs, and leaving the mixture to sit for a while in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I suspect the flavor of the herbs would migrate into the butter. After letting this happen, I'd soften the butter again and press it through a strainer, then just use the flavored butter. It would be interesting to have herb-flavored cookies with no visible herbs in them.
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