Lavender Almond Cookies

Fine, I'll say it: Lavender is an under-used ingredient in baking. Its fragrance has long been lost on things like cookies and other pastries -- I remember being inspired when my cousin showed me a picture of some beautiful Earl Grey Lavender Cupcakes she made a while back. Though I wasn't there to experience them, I knew even then that this ingredient had potential.

I can still imagine how the notes of bergamot and the floral scent from the lavender must have intermingled; a serious fragrance power play. Since then, I've had a bottle of lavender buds hanging around in the pantry, ready for their moment in the mixing bowl.

I adapted a cookie base recipe from this Cooking Light template. Here's what I came up with:

Lavender Almond Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon culinary lavender buds

1 egg

8 oz all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine first six ingredients in mixing bowl and beat until combined, and fluffing up.
  3. Turn off mixer, add egg and continue to beat.
  4. Slowly add in flour, baking soda, and salt, taking care to do so slowly, so that the ingredients don't fly out of the bowl (trust me, this is often my downfall).
  5. Using cookie scoop, put dollops of dough onto prepared baking sheet, either with silicone baking sheet or parchment paper, allowing a few inches between cookies and flattening dough lightly with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake in the oven for 9 to 11 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden brown. Allow to cool on sheet until cookies solidify slightly. Then cool further on a cooling rack.

I found that the more I flattened the cookies, the nicer and less craggy they looked, upon coming out of the oven. Perhaps chilling the dough for 30 minutes would have helped the dough to come together a bit more.

These cookies were fragrant, and I mean it. The usual buttery cookies-in-the-oven aroma was laced with the distinctive scent of lavender, along with one of my all-time favorites; the sweet, almost cherry-like scent of almond extract. A little intense at first, these cookies quickly grew on me, becoming more mellow in flavor after my first bite.

These cookies are both crispy and tender at once, a by-product of the all-encompassing power of brown sugar. This recipe template has inspired me to try the dough base again, but with some coconut, dried fruit or white chocolate added into the mix instead of lavender.