SRP #17: It’s Botanical Week!

“SRP” in dentistry means, “scaling & root planing” — a really deep cleaning for people with periodontal disease.  “SRP” in FoodSwing lingo means, “short recipe post” — a to-the-point recipe post for people with lives…and tastebuds.

Lemon Lavender Sugar Cookies

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As I may have mentioned before, I have a bit of a thing for The Great British Bake-off.  Okay, it’s more than a thing (“raging obsession” might be a more accurate way to express the situation).  My GBBO mania is rivaled only by my debatably unhealthy fixation with Harry Potter — why yes, I am applying for a GED from Hogwarts, funny you should ask.

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I recently re-watched Season 7 of GBBO (to be more accurate, I should say, re-re-re-re-watched), and I was inspired by one of the new theme additions to this season:  Botanical Week.  I have heretofore left the world of floral baking relatively unexplored by my person (I’m assuming simply using “flour” doesn’t count).

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In encouragement of my floral-curious leanings, a friend of mine recently gave me some dried lavender that I was excited to try.  Combined with the fact that I was coming off of  a week of rather dense cookie dough brownies, I was ready for something fresh, fluffy, and floral!

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The recipe below is a floralized version of my previously-posted Tom’s Favorite Sugar Cookies, jazzed up with lavender, lemon zest, and an optional-but-encouraged lemon glaze.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if my Daily Prophet has arrived yet.

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Lemon Lavender Sugar Cookies

YIELD:  ~42 cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
Zest of 1/2 a lemon (you can use the juice in the optional lemon glaze, below)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and at room temp
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg, room temp
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar + 1/8 teaspoon salt
In a small glass bowl, use a fork to thoroughly combine the granulated sugar, lavender, & lemon zest.  Cover bowl, and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the floral flavors to infuse into the sugar.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, place powdered sugar, butter, infused granulated sugar, and oil (in that order to prevent the big powdered sugar poof when you turn on the mixer), and beat until very pale and creamy.  Beat in egg and extract.  In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, use a fork to combine and aerate flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.  With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients to wet.  Cover mixing bowl, and chill at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Roll dough into ~1″ balls [rolled balls can be chilled – covered – overnight, if you’re not ready to bake them yet or if it’s very hot/humid], and space ~1 1/2″ apart on the baking sheet.  Gently rub one dough ball over the base of a drinking glass to get some of the oil on the bottom of the glass. Then, dip the glass in a shallow bowl containing the 1/3 cup granulated sugar + 1/8 teaspoon salt (the sugar/salt should now stick to the bottom of the glass).  Use the sugared/salted glass bottom to flatten each dough ball to ~1/4″ thick, re-dipping in the sugar/salt mixture between each cookie (see picture in post).  The edges of the cookies should be kind of craggy looking at this point; the jagged edges get crisp during baking, while the middles stay soft & pillowy.
Bake 8-9 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through bake time.  Let sit on hot baking sheet 3 minutes to deflate, then remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.  Store cooled cookies, in a tightly-sealed container, at room temperature, for up to 5 days.
Optional-but-Encouraged Lemon Vanilla Glaze:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
~3/4 cup powdered sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
+/- a dash or two of milk, if needed
Sprinkles
In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter & powdered sugar, forming a super thick paste.  Add lemon juice, vanilla, & salt, and stir until smooth, adding additional milk and/or sugar, if needed, to achieve the right consistency (glaze-making is an inexact science).  Ideal consistency is thick-yet-smooth-and-flowable (think Elmer’s white glue or puffy fabric paint).  Spoon ~1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of glaze onto a cookie, spread into a thin layer, & immediately top with sprinkles.  Repeat with remaining cookies.  Glaze should be soft-set within 10 minutes, but allow to harden completely before stacking & storing cookies.

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