These tender lavender shortbreads sandwiched between silky lemon buttercream make for a delicious afternoon treat! Not only are they tasty, but they look lovely - they would be a great gift to surprise a friend, to serve at a celebration or a sweet treat next to your afternoon coffee. Let's jump into how to make Lavender Lemon Sandwich cookies so that you can start living your very best life!
Lavender Shortbread Method
Shortbread has always been one of my favorite treats - they're characteristically not very sweet and there are so many different flavors that you can incorporate to jazz them up. There are only six ingredients needed for this recipe - here we will be using lavender as our primary flavoring agent!
In general, when making shortbread, the first step is to combine all ingredients other than your flour and your flavoring together and mix. By waiting to add your flour until the last minute, you are avoiding the potential of the dough getting over-mixed and the gluten overdeveloping. If this happens, your shortbread will end up quite tough rather than tender. I prefer using a food processor for this stage as it helps to cut your softened butter into the dough evenly, and very quickly!
Within this recipe, you will pour your lavender and flour mixture into the food processor and pulse until the dough comes together. Separate the dough into two portions and shape it into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and start the process of chilling your dough.
The Importance of Chilling
I’ve seen a number of shortbread recipes where the recipe requires your dough to chill overnight so the shortbread solidifies, yet I prefer to remove my dough from the fridge and roll it out once it’s slightly cool to the touch. You should only have to chill the dough for about 20 minutes after mixing before you are ready to cut your dough.
Once you have cut your shapes, it's important to place your cookies in the freezer. This freezing process helps to solidify the fat in your dough prior to baking. Since shortbread is primarily made of butter, freezing the dough before baking prevents your shortbread from spreading in the oven so that they retain their crisp shape!
Baking Shortbread to Perfection
Another trick to successful shortbread cookies is to make sure you do not over-bake them! Tender, buttery shortbread cookies that melt in your mouth is your goal. Making sure your oven temperature is set accurately is imperative. I am a huge advocate of purchasing an oven thermometer in order to make sure that your oven temperature is accurate. While baking, if you start to see even the slightest browning near the bottom or top of your shortbread, it's time to remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
The flavor of shortbread cookies can be modified and adapted easily! Here's a few ideas to get you started:
- Brown Butter
- Ground Nuts
- Lemon Zest
- Grapefruit Zest
When it comes to buttercream, I am a die-hard fan of using swiss meringue. I find that the texture is incredibly smooth and velvety while the flavor is not overly sweet allowing the flavoring of your choosing to shine.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Process
To make lemon buttercream, we start with making a basic swiss meringue buttercream. This tends to be composed of a 3-2-1 ratio of butter-sugar-egg whites.
First, you'll add your sugar and egg whites to the bowl of your stand mixer and place over a saucepan of boiling water. Make sure that your bowl is not touching the hot water! Your goal is to simply whisk the egg whites and sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved, then attach your bowl back to the standing mixer. The temperature will reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit before removing from heat.
Start whisking the mixture at a low speed and gradually increase speed until medium peaks form. Continue mixing until the meringue has cooled, then switch to using the paddle attachment and start adding your softened butter bit by bit. When you've reached the point where the buttercream is glossy and smooth, turn the mixer speed back to low. Add the zest and lemon juice, continuing to mix until completely combined.
The flavoring for buttercream can be modified and adapted easily! Here's a few ideas to get you started:
- Various Alcohols or Liquors
- Brown Butter
- Citrus Zest
- Cookie Butter
- Fruit Powders
- Ground Nuts (for texture and crunch)
- Nut Butter
- Coconut Cream
- Cream Cheese
When baking with lavender, it's important that you look for what's called "culinary grade lavender". This means that the lavender is safe for ingesting rather than harvested for its aromatic oils. Organic or not, the important word to look for is Culinary Lavender and you should be good to bake!
The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one month. Instead of baking all your shortbread at once, another option is to keep the majority of your cut lavender shortbread wrapped in the freezer. Then, when you get another craving, pull a few out and bake them fresh! Cool, pipe in fresh buttercream, and voila! Fresh cookies.
Lavender Lemon Sandwich Cookies
- Food Processor
- Mortar & Pestle
- Rolling Pin
- Cookie Cutter
- Plastic Wrap & Parchment Paper
- Stand or Hand Mixer with Paddle and Whisk Attachment
- Piping Tips & Piping Bag
- 1 Cup + 2.5 Tbsp (142 g) Powdered Sugar
- 1 Cup + 2 Tbsp (255 g) Unsalted Butter , room temperature
- 1 Egg Yolk
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Culinary Lavender
- 2⅔ g (326 g) All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Cup (120 g) Egg Whites
- 1¼ Cup (240 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 ½ Cups (360 g) Unsalted Butter , room temperature
- 1.5 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3 Tbs Lemon Juice
- 3 Lemons, zested
- Combine all ingredients, other than your flour and lavender, in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind up the lavender buds ever so slightly and add them to your weighed out flour.
- Pour flour mixture into the food processor and pulse until the dough just comes together.
- Separate the dough into two portions and shape into a disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and set in the fridge for about twenty minutes.
- Remove disks from the fridge once they've slightly firmed. Taking two pieces or parchment paper, place one piece of parchment below the dough and one on top. Roll out your dough to ¼ inch and cut into circles using a cookie cutter.
- Freeze shortbread for at least 20 minutes until frozen, preheating the oven to 330 degrees fahrenheit.
- Bake the cookies for 11 minutes, making sure that you take them out of the oven before you see and browning occur.
- Allow your cookies to cool on cooling rack while you start the buttercream
- Add your sugar and egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer and place over a saucepan of boiling water.
- Make sure that your bowl is not touching the hot water! Your goal is to simply whisk the egg whites and sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved, then attach your bowl back to the standing mixer - the temperature should reach 160 degrees fahrenheit.
- Using the whisk attachment, whisk mixture starting at a low speed and gradually increase speed until medium peaks form - this should take about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Once you've developed medium peaks, switch to using a paddle attachment. Slowly, start adding your butter in half inch cubes and continue mixing.
- When you've reached the point where the buttercream is glossy and smooth, turn the mixer speed back to low. Add the zest and lemon juice and continue mixing until combined.
- Pipe the buttercream in between two shortbread cookies and place in the fridge in an airtight container….then enjoy!