My mom harvested her lavender last weekend and ended up with several baskets filled to the brim with fragrant bundles. I dried my own lavender last month and have it hanging in the garage. All this harvesting and drying got me to thinking about some of the more unusual things I have done with lavender.
I know that not everyone thinks of food when they think of lavender, but I do. I like to bake with it. I use it in breads, pastries, cookies, custards and ice cream. When used correctly, it has a light, floral flavor. Too much, and your food ends up tasting like lavender soap! I have learned the hard way that a light hand is best.
Here is a delicate lavender biscotti recipe that I have made for years. The biscotti has a light blending of lemon and lavender — a great combination. I like to serve it with hot tea, or for dessert, or a midnight snack, or sometimes for breakfast with coffee…You get the idea.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. dried lavender blossoms
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a food processor, combine sugar and lavender blossoms. Process until lavender is finely chopped. Transfer sugar mixture to a large bowl and add eggs. Beat until thick (about 2 minutes). Add butter, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Dough will be soft and sticky.
Take half the dough and place it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Shape into a 10-inch long log that is 3 inches wide. Repeat with the other half of the dough on another parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake both logs 20 minutes or until crisp and golden (center will still be soft). Remove from oven. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. Cool logs 10 minutes and then slice with a serrated knife into 1/2 inch slices Place slices (cut side up) onto cookie sheets and bake another 15 minutes or until crisp and brown. Remove cookies and let cool. Store in an airtight container and eat within two weeks. Serve with tea or coffee.