Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Salted Lavender Cookies

Salted Lavender Cookies, originally uploaded by michele wynne.
I love that feeling when I wake up early on a rainy morning and realize that I don't have to go to work...even better when there is nothing on the To Do list that involves me having to get out of my jammies and leave the apartment. Yesterday was such a day. I popped season 2 of Downton Abbey into the DVD player and noodled away the day in the kitchen. I started with waffles. I still can't get those Black Bear Diner Sweet Cream Pancakes out of my head. I've been making & tweaking various recipes  amping up the sugar in a variety of ways: subbing in vanilla sugar, infusing warm cream with vanilla sugar, adding more vanilla, adding more sugar,  a couple of squirts of agave nectar...and on and on...the little test kitchen is hard at work as is my sad little waffle iron. Coincidentally, there's a giveaway going on over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Fingers crossed.
This morning the sun has been teasing in and out whilst I chill at Simple Pleasures enjoying a pint of java and these Salted Lavender Cookies I made yesterday. Unlike the waffles, this recipe seems to have found it's balance. They've been a work-in-progress since my first crack at them back around Thanksgiving. Now, thanks to my Christmas Kitchen Aid, there's an added churn power that gives the dough a fluffy lift and slightly more tender texture.
Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Sables has been a little kitchen go-to for years without fail (using a $10 hand mixer). It's the basis of my salt & lavender ratio tweaks over the course of several test runs. The last tweak is to the method, inspired by Christina Tosi's book Momofuku Milkbar, the insider revelations behind Milkbar, Momofuku's bakery in NYC.

Salted Lavender Cookies
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Sables

1 cup butter - 2 sticks - room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar - sifted
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large egg yolks - room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely crushed, dried, lavender buds*
Maldon sea salt for finishing

In the bowl of an electric mixer, paddle the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy -    about 3 minutes. Add both sugars and salt. Beat until well blended - 3 more minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, waiting for each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Paddle on high for 7 minutes, occasionally scraping down the side of the bowl.
Stir the lavender into the flour. Add the flour mixture into the butter and mix it in using a the lowest speed just until the flour has been incorporated. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a roughly rectangular mass. Divide it in half lengthwise so you have two logs. Place one log onto a piece of plastic wrap rolling the dough into a compact, uniform roll about 9 inches long, by twisting and tightening the ends of the plastic wrap. Repeat with the second log.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. The dough can be frozen at this point as well. Put the wrapped logs into a freezer bag and press out as much air as you can.

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slice the logs into 1/2 inch rounds, slicing uniform pieces from each end first, then slice the remaining log into 1/2 thick rounds. Lay each round an inch apart. Sprinkle each round with a light pinch of Maldon sea salt and press the flakes lightly into the dough.
Bake one sheet at a time for 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the 8 minute mark. Remove when the edges turn golden brown. The top of the cookie should still be pale.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes and then transfer them onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

*I forage lavender from my neighborhood and let it dry out on my window sill. Scrape the buds off the stem and onto a cutting board and chop, chop, chop and chop some more or use a mortar and pestle crushing & pounding until you have a variation of powder and bigger bits.

No comments:

Post a Comment