There's something wonderfully comforting about a buttery shortbread cookie served with a hot cup of tea, but infusing the simple dough with lavender and lemon takes it to a whole 'nother level. That's why we love this sophisticated version shared with us by Elisa Marshall of Maman, a lovely cafe in the SoHo neighborhood of N.Y.C. Along with her co-owners, Chef Armand Arnal (of the Michelin star awarded La Chassagnette in the South of France) and restaurateur Benjamin Sormonte, Maman was founded upon the idea of beloved family recipes. In fact, the name translates to "mother" in French, which is why we tapped their expertise when coming up with a menu to feature in our May issue, now available on newsstands and for digital download, where we feature a full Mother's Day brunch menu.
This recipe is like a family heirloom, says Marshall, passed down from her grandmother Grace. "My mom and I are always trying to get recipes out of her! Every season she switches it up."
The version below is made with dried lavender, and the citrus is added to offset the floral notes. We dipped our cut-out shapes in tinted white chocolate to create an unexpectected color-blocked effect—and maybe also to match the palette of our tablescape. If floral notes aren't your thing though, Marshall encourages mixing in any flavor of your liking, even chocolate chips or candies!
Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Active 45 min; Total 5 hrs
Makes 2 Dozen Cookies
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. fine salt
1 stick plus 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. dried lavender flowers, plus crushed flowers for garnish
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped
5 drops blue liquid food coloring
4 drops red liquid food coloring
1. Sift the flour with the cornstarch and salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg yolk, lemon zest and the 1 teaspoon of lavender flowers, then gradually beat in the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough in half and pat each piece into a 6-inch disk. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Work with one disk of dough at a time: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough ¼ inch thick. Using a 2 ½ to 3-inch cookie cutter, stamp out cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining disk of dough. Re-roll the scraps, then stamp out more cookies and arrange them on the baking sheets. Refrigerate the cookies until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Bake the cookies on the upper and middle racks of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom; shift the pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
4. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chopped white chocolate at high power in 10-second intervals. Let cool slightly, then stir in the blue and red food coloring.
5. Dip half of each cookie in the white chocolate and return it to the rack, then sprinkle lightly with crushed lavender flowers. Let stand in a cool place until the white chocolate is set, about 1 hour.
Make ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days.