Lavender is one of my favourite things on earth. It’s one of my favourite smells, one of my favourite flavours, even one of my favourite colours! It reminds me of the times I’ve spent in France, and in the summer, tending to the lavender bushes in my yard sends me into utter bliss.
But it’s not just a sensory delight for me - lavender is one of the most powerful and diverse herbal healers. Many of you might already know of its calming qualities, celebrated for its relaxing and sedative effects, but lavender is also anti-inflammatory, and has been shown to aid in hormone balance, immune function, and blood sugar regulation. In fact, when applied to cuts, it quickly slows, and even stops bleeding, all the while acting as a strong antibacterial agent. Truly, there is little lavender can’t do, and that’s why you’ll often see me diffusing it in my home, applying it all over my body, savouring it in tea form, and of course baking with it as the recipe below so beautifully showcases.
One thing I love almost as much as lavender is shortbread. Honestly, it should really be called “short(t)bread” because everyone on my dad’s side of the family is crazy over this crumbly cookie as well!
Sadly, so many people are reactive to gluten, making it hard for them to delight in an expertly textured shortbread, let alone one with heavenly wonderful lavender. Well my friends, I’ve found the perfect ratios of gluten-free flours and non-refined sweetness to bring you one of my most favourite treats I’ve ever created!
Now of course, you can leave the lavender and lemon rind out of the picture and enjoy them in their plain and classic form, but after my long and loving rant about the purple-hued prince of flowers, you likely won’t want to…
Lemon Lavender Shortbread (gluten-free, refined sugar-free)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Setting time: 10 minutes
Makes about a dozen cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Dash of sea salt
- 2 1/4 cups of gluten-free flour mix (I did 1/2 cup white rice flour, 1/2 cup tapioca starch, 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour, 1/2 cup millet flour, ¼ cup coconut flour, ½ tsp guar gum)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh or dried lavender flowers
- Preheat your oven to 350F, and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Prepare a rolling area with two additional sheets of parchment paper, and have your cookie cutter handy.
- Using either an electric mixer like a KitchenAid or a handheld one with a large bowl, whip together the butter, maple syrup, and vanilla, until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flours and sea salt, slowly adding it to the butter mix until well combined.
- Stir in the lemon zest and lavender with a wooden spoon or spatula, then use your hands to gently kneed everything together until you can shape it into a ball *Note: depending on the flour mix you use there may be a slight variance in texture. The consistency of the dough shouldn’t be too sticky, and should press together when pinched. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour (try 1 tbsp at a time). If it’s a little dry add a little more sweetener (try 1 tbsp at a time).
- Shape the dough into 2 balls and then flatten each into a disk-like shape. *Note: if you're noticing the dough is really soft (maybe it's a hot day or you worked it too much and the butter became too melty, you can always wrap it in some cling-wrap and pop it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to harden up a bit).
- Roll out one of the dough balls between two sheets of parchment paper to about a ½” thickness.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies, and carefully transfer them to a prepared cookie sheet, spacing them about ½” apart (they won’t spread as they bake).
- Gather up any dough scraps and repeat until all the dough is used up.
- Repeat the process with the second dough ball.
- Bake in your pre-heated oven for approximately 12 minutes, until the edges just begin to become slightly golden.
- Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. *Note: The cookies will harden a little within minutes of cooling, so don’t over-bake.
- Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes before enjoying!