Rosewater Lavender Shortbread

When traveling to perform, I get to glimpse into the lives and the vibes of different homes and cities. I’m currently performing in The Enchanted April at the Hampton Theatre Company and living in the director and producer’s peaceful, beautiful house right on the bay. It’s filled with plants and artwork from all over the world.  I take their dog, Mia, on morning walks past fields of flowers and houses with perfectly manicured laws.  From my attic suite (which makes me feel a little Louisa May Alcott as I write and draw), I can see water. When I open the window, the scent of flowers fills the rooms.

I feel extremely fulfilled from working with this character and this incredible cast, who have been so warm in welcoming me into their lives. And with some time to spare during the day (with rehearsals coming to a close), I’m baking some cookies for concessions. I couldn’t quite put a gluten-free, allergy-friendly cookie out there (both to limit costs and appeal to the appetite of this particular audience), but knew my contribution had to be something special.

The show is about four women who escape from their troubles in rainy London to a castle in Italy, where “in April it is simply a mass of flowers” as “bushels and bushels of wisteria” flank the terraces.  Eventually, they all find their happy endings, their hearts warmed by the Italian sunshine, the “unusually fresh” sea air and facing their demons amongst the company of strangers who soon become friends.

So my contribution is a traditional English shortbread cookie, laced with rosewater and dried lavender.  Simple ingredients, a little time and patience, and a beautiful, garden-scented result.

Rosewater Lavender Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 20 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (I used Kerry Gold for the higher fat content)
  • 1 cup white sugar plus more for dusting
  • 2 eggs (plus egg whites for brushing)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 scant Tbsp dried lavender flowers
  • 3 scant Tbsp rosewater

Directions

  • With a hand mixer (or in a food processor) beat butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about two minutes.
  • Add eggs and blend to combine.
  • Add flour, cornstarch, lavender and rosewater and mix just until a dough ball forms.
  • Remove from mixer, separate into two balls and flatten into disks.  Wrap in plastic and put in refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper and flour work surface.
  • If the dough is still too soft, knead in a little more flour.
  • Roll each disk into 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes (I made both 1 1/2 inch and 2 inch cookies with success, both with round and fluted cutters.)
  • Use a spatula to transfer to lined sheets, wash lightly with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on size), switching racks halfway through baking, until slightly golden at edges.

Notes: I made two sizes (one to sell and smaller ones with the extra dough).  Other than rolling the smaller size a bit thinner and baking for a shorter amount of time, they came out with equally beautiful results.  The pictures above are of the larger ones that I brushed with egg white before sanding with sugar.  The picture below shows the smaller cookies that weren’t brushed.  To keep with the traditional sheen of a shortbread, I think from now on I will not egg wash the cookies before baking.

Smaller version of Rosewater Lavender Shortbread

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8 Comments

  1. Pingback: Rosewater Lavender Shortbread | Food Frenzy

  2. Your photos are beautiful. Especially the one of Mia on the misty morning walk. The Hamptons are such a special place, especially in the fall and summer. These cookies are so lovely! I just used lavender for the first time in a cake, and it adds such a wonderful flavor.

    • Thanks Beth – are you often in the Hamptons? I’m there for two more weeks and would love some insiders opinion if you have any have to offer. I’m just hoping to soak in as much as I can, despite the building traffic. And my hosts are incredibly generous in welcoming be back at any time in the future. AND their house has so many beautiful places to photo my creations compared to my dim little NYC apartment!

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