One day, my friend Emily came into the costume shop where we work raving about the lemon-lavender cookies from the coffee shop down the street. She said something like “Janco, if you can make these, I’ll be eternally happy.” Or maybe she just promised to not sass me so much at work. Either way, it was an invitation and an inspiration to make something I’ve never made before. Plus, I had plenty of extra lavender from making my Tonic Syrup.
I told her I’d need to try some of Zest (the coffee shop)’s cookies first before making my own version. These cookies apparently sell out every day by noon, so it was a few weeks later when she finally brought one in for us to try. It was large, soft, dense, and crackly–the kind of cookie that looks like it was rolled in sugar before being baked. The surprising part was that it was glazed, with lavender flowers sprinkled on top. It was very lemony, not quite so lavender-y, which was strange considering all that lavender on top.
So my spring break happened, and I hit the kitchen! Well, first I hit the internet, looking for the kind of sugar cookie I wanted. Most of my search results were for the doughy white cutouts that you decorate at Christmas. This isn’t what I wanted. I wanted a cookie that looked like it could stand up on its own without any frosting, plus crackled edges. I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website, and decided it would be my starting point. I increased the amount of lemon, added some lavender, and rolled it in sugar before putting it in the oven.
And voila, these appeared! They are marvelous on their own, no icing needed. However, I wanted these to be like Zest’s, so I made a glaze for them, putting lavender there as well–and it turned the glaze pink overnight! Some I sprinkled with extra lavender, some just had the icing, and some I left plain. We couldn’t decide which were better.
These also passed the Father Test. My dad doesn’t seem like the kind of person that would enjoy “eating flowers”, but he actually really appreciated these cookies. And that’s how you know they’re good.
Yield: 3 dozen
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 3/4 cups Sugar, plus more for rolling
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
Zest of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon
3 tsp. ground Lavender (I used a mortar and pestle for a rough grind)
1 cup Unsalted Butter (look for the kind with “cream” as the ONLY ingredient)
2 Large Eggs
1 cup Powdered Sugar
A few drops of Vanilla
Extra whole Lavender flowers (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine, set aside.
Combine the 1 3/4 cups sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest, and 2 teaspoons of ground lavender in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on to combine until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add butter and mix on medium-to-high speed until creamed–light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, followed by 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Slowly add the flour mixture until combined.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop cookie dough using a 2-inch (or in my case, two scoops from a 1-inch) scoop, and roll into balls using your hands. Roll the dough balls in the extra sugar to coat them, and place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Press down halfway with your hand.
Bake for 15 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden and slightly crackled on the edges. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
Make the glaze– combine the powdered sugar with the rest of the lemon juice, vanilla, and remaining 1 teaspoon of ground lavender. Spoon about 1 teaspoon over each cookie, spreading around evenly.
Sprinkle with whole lavender flowers if desired. Let the glaze dry.
NOTE: This recipe makes enough icing for about half of the cookies. To make more icing, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to another cup of powdered sugar, and add a few more drops of vanilla and another teaspoon of ground lavender.
Enjoy, with a cup of lemony tea!