Lavender is an herb that has been prized for its scent since the time of the ancient Greeks. More recently, it has become a fashionable ingredient for baking, lending its pretty floral scent to everything from cakes to pizza dough. Today, we’re using lavender to transform butter cookies from a simple snack to a sexy treat, drizzled with just a hint of sweet, royal icing. But watch out, these aphrodisiac iced lavender cookies are addictive!
How to make the best lavender cookies
This cookie recipe starts out with a basic buttery dough. But the addition of dried lavender flowers transforms it into something complex and sophisticated. While many lavender cookie recipes combine the flavors of lavender and lemon, this recipe focuses in simply on showing off the deep floral notes of pure lavender.
To create these beautiful cookies, you start with real, unsalted butter. Set the butter out to soften while you mix your dry ingredients.
- All-purpose flour
- Dried lavender buds – Make sure that you purchase lavender intended for culinary use. (Do not use lavender extract as a substitute.)
- Baking powder – Always check the date on your baking powder before using it!
- Granulated sugar
- Butter – Make sure your butter is unsalted and softened before you start.
- Large egg – Get the egg out of the refrigerator when you get out the butter to allow it to warm to room temperature before use.
- Vanilla extract – Here is the brand I like to use.
Steps to making the cookies
Once you’ve sifted together the dry ingredients, you’ll cream the butter and sugar as you would for most cookie recipes. Then you’ll add the egg and vanilla. Note that an egg at room temperature will incorporate into your cookie dough better than a cold egg. Add in the flour mixture but stir until just combined or you will risk making the dough tough, not melt in your mouth soft and delicious.
This is a slice-and-bake cookies recipe, so you need to form the dough into logs that can be sliced. But in order to ensure that they slice nicely, you want to refrigerate them for a minimum of one hour before slicing and baking. (If you want to ensure easy cleanup, line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.)
The cookies bake quickly, about 11 minutes, so don’t leave them unattended. You want to take them out of the oven when the edges show just a hint of browning. Do not overbake. Allow the cookies to cool completely before you drizzle with royal icing.
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Egg white
- Lemon juice
- Purple food coloring – The food coloring is optional but the splash of purple gives the cookies an eye-catching look.
Steps to making royal icing
The easiest way to make royal icing is with a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. But you can make it with a mixing bowl and whisk, and some elbow grease. You simply combine the sugar egg white and lemon juice slowly, until it forms a smooth icing. Then you can add the food coloring if you choose.
After the cookies cool, you’ll drizzle the icing from either a pastry bag if you have one or a zip lock bag with the corner snipped off to make a homemade pastry bag. Just be careful not to squeeze the zip lock hard enough to make the zipper burst open.
Can you make these cookies in advance?
The cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for up to one week. But, of course, these butter cookies are best when they’re fresh.
Freeze the cookie dough
If you want to save time, make the cookie dough in advance and roll it into logs. Seal the logs tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to three months. The cookies can be sliced and baked directly from frozen.
When to serve these lavender butter cookies
The recipe’s creator, Jill Silverman Hough, author of 100 Perfect Pairings, likes to serve these cookies whenever she’s craving a chocolate-free treat. But we say the use of lavender blossoms gives this butter cookie recipe an air of romance, which makes it a top contender for our favorite homemade Valentine’s Day gift. (More on the aphrodisiac power of lavender below.)
The floral note of these cookies also makes them a great finale for a springtime or Mother’s Day brunch. They’re also a pretty choice for a baby or bridal shower. You can either serve them on a cookie platter or wrap them in individual bakery boxes as a take-home gift.
The aphrodisiac power of lavender
Lavender is symbolic of romance as well as an aphrodisiac food. and it is also an aphrodisiac of historic repute. Lavender is also noted for helping to improve sleep. And, interestingly, it also shows the potential in reducing blood pressure. (See Jill’s recipe notes for some of her other favorite culinary uses for dried lavender flowers.)
Buttery Lavender Cookies with Royal Icing
For the cookies:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers see note below
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Royal Icing:
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 large egg white see note below
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice
- Food coloring optional
For the cookies:
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, lavender, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a log, about 1 3/4 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (You can refrigerate the logs as long as overnight, or freeze them for up to several months. Thaw, if necessary, before proceeding.) For the cookies in the photo, I squared off the log, for square-ish cookies.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
- Cut the logs into 3/8-inch slices. Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheets, about 1/2-inch apart. Bake until just beginning to turn golden at the edges, 11 to 13 minutes. Place the baking sheets to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before decorating with royal icing (recipe below), if you like. (For the cookies in the photo, I also sprinkled on some silver decorating dust.)
For the royal icing:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, a large bowl using a hand mixer, or a medium bowl using a whisk, combine the sugar, egg white, and lemon juice on slow speed, mixing until thick and smooth.
- Color the icing as desired. Use a pastry bag or a resealable bag with a corner snipped off to drizzle the icing over the cookies.
A note on lavenderDried lavender flowers are available at specialty food stores and in the bulk dried herbs and flowers section at many natural food stores. Besides using them in this recipe, you can sprinkle them into other baked goods or try rubbing them under the skin of poultry before roasting.
About the Royal IcingThis icing is purposefully thin enough to drizzle. If you want stiffer icing, use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar. If you're concerned about using raw egg whites, substitute with the equivalent amount of dried egg whites and water.
A note on the provided nutrition informationThe nutrition information provided has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Lavender Cookies photo by Jill Silverman Hough
Love Jill’s Recipes? Get her latest book:
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