As we previewed on our Facebook page, we have been dabbling with new ingredients that Kitty brought from Williams-Sonoma’s Albany, NY Store (which is amazing, by the way): Tahitian Vanilla and dried French Lavender.
The first recipe I tried out are these lavender cookies which I made for my mother’s birthday earlier this month. This is a basic cookie dough with Tahitian Vanilla and dried French Lavender mixed into it. For the icing, instead of water I used lavender infused water. I wanted a really subtle lavender color for the icing, so I added red and blue food coloring drop by drop until I got the hue I wanted.
When I was browsing around looking for recipes with lavender in them, I found out some really useful tips. Dried lavender has a stronger taste than fresh lavender, therefore if a recipe calls for fresh lavender, use half of the amount (of dried lavender).
I was worried that my cookies would end up tasting like a floral kitchen cleaner, so I only added 1 tablespoon of dried lavender to my dough. Feel free to use 2 or 2 1/2 tablespoons. The flavor is very subtle. The same goes for the icing. I used only about a teaspoon to infuse 1/2 cup of water. I’ll definitely use more than that next time.
What I could definitely taste, was the Tahitian Vanilla. See the tiny little dots in the photograph of the baked cookies? That’s the vanilla. If you can get your hand on this, I definitely recommend it. Use is as you would use vanilla extract.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find lavender in Guatemala. We have to rely on friends and/or family traveling to the USA and beg them to visit Williams-Sonoma or Whole Foods for our gourmet stash of spices, rubs and ingredients. The good news is that new gourmet stores are opening their doors, hopefully they’ll stock up on varied and gourmet products like these.
A Foodies’ Kitchen Original Recipe
Yields: 18-20 medium sized cookies
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon Tahitian Vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon chopped dried lavender
For the Lavender Icing:
2 cups confectioners’ (powdered or icing) sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon dried lavender
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the chopped lavender, flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/2 an inch thick, at least. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter.
- Bake 11-13 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely. You’ll know they are done when they begin to turn golden brown in the edges.
Lavender Icing Procedure:
- In a small pot, bring 1/2 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of dried lavender to a boil. Let it boil for about 3 min. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 5-8 minutes. Strain and reserve the infused water.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder until combined. Measure your lavender infused water to 1/4 cup, add the water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes).
- If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water. To cover or ‘flood’ the entire surface of the cookie with icing, the proper consistency is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.
The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.
Separate your icing into as many bowls as you need, depending on what colors you want to use. Add the food coloring with a toothpick, a little bit goes a long way.