Cooking with Lavender

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Originally posted July 29, 2015 written by Shelagh MacKinnon

Lavender: what a wonderful addition to our lives here on Bowen. I see it in bouquets at weddings, tucked into people’s linens, in vases over the winter and now, we can cook with it as well.  This year, at the Green Man Festival in May, I made up some Lavender cookies and I thought to share that recipe.  But first a few words of care:
Lavender infuses, think like steeping tea.  Rosie Montgomery , who has fields of lavender at her Montrose Lavender Farm, stresses that the flavour of the lavender in your recipe will intensify over time.  So, if you, say, taste cookie dough and think “Not enough lavender flavour,” stop yourself before you add more!  The day following the baking, more flavour magically arrives.
When you are visiting Farmer’s Markets and find Lavender for sale, do check with the grower about its suitability for cooking. Many people like using English lavender (L. Agnustifolia), others like the Pink Lavender, Melissa.  For a real treat:, Sequim, Washington has a Lavender Festival that I have heard marvellous reports about: this year it was July 17 -19, but you can plan for next year or check out their website (http://www.lavenderfestival.com/)!
Most people on Bowen who cook with lavender seem to choose either shortbread, scones or cookies. If you are using fresh lavender you can use more than if it is dried (say 3 teaspoons fresh to 1 tsp dried.)  Natural partners for lavender seem to be lemon and nuts. It can also be infused into honey for a wonderful flavour combo.


Green Man Festival Lavender Cookies (Makes 100 cookies)
3/4 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Cream together above ingredients
Combine:
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Combine creamed and dry mixtures
Then add:
1 c Rice Krispies
1 c coconut
1/2 c chopped slivered almonds
1 c oatmeal
Mix well
Add 1 tbsp dry lavender finely chopped
Mix well
Roll into balls and flatten with fork
Bake at 350 F for 10 – 15 minutes.  Really does make 100 so you can share!


If this is too much work you can make lavender sugar but whirling the buds of 2 or 3 flowers in a clean coffee mill with 2 – 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Voila: ready to use; store in airtight container in your freezer for the winter ahead! Just add that to whipping cream or iced tea, lovely. Good luck!

– Shelagh MacKinnon

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