I’ve never really been big on Valentine’s Day celebrating. Maybe I’m a bit cynical of the “holiday” because of the years I spent working in the restaurant industry. For folks working in the service industry this is probably hands down one of the most dreaded nights of the year where everybody comes out of the woodwork . Really – why do we need just one day set aside for acts of love and kindness? Why should one day be reserved for this, why not every day? It’s hard sometimes when we get wrapped up in the daily grind of life. Whether it’s buying a bouquet of flowers on your way home for your honey just because, a mid-day text just to say “I love you”, or cooking or baking a favorite dish for your family … These are the bits that we need more of. My boyfriend asked me jokingly this morning if I got him a Valentine’s Day present or card, to which I replied “of course not”. In 6 years of dating we’ve never celebrated Vday (the first 3 years, both of us worked in restaurants) or bought each other gifts for the day. In fact, we rarely buy each other birthday or Christmas gifts. Is this terrible? Maybe to some. But I can tell you that throughout the year, we buy each other concert tickets, camp/outdoor gear that the other has been eying, or treat each other to “experiences” (like road trips to Acadia or Asheville) rather than more “things” to clutter up our closets.
Here is a great recipe that was adapted from James Beard Foundation. I made them for my boyfriend who always has a sweet tooth and loves when I bake for him. I added a bit of a Valentine flair, but these cuties can be baked any day of the week for your loves….just because. No holiday necessary.
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on cookies
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar (additional 1/4 cup if you want to make an icing)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lavender, plus extra for sprinkling on cookies
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose and cake flours. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition. Add the lavender and mix to just combine.
Roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Use the cookie cutter of your choice and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies until just golden at the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let cool before icing.
If you want to ice the cookies as seen here, whisk 1 egg white until frothy, then add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. I spooned small amounts into a plastic paint palette dish. I then used just a dab of Wilton food coloring to mix the colors I wanted. Literally just a dab goes a long way. I used a toothpick to pic up some of the food dye. Use a soft brush to apply the white icing base. Then use a toothpick to apply the secondary colors you would like. Using the toothpick, swirl the two colors together. to create the marbled effect.
Words & Pictures by Candice Alinovich