Lavender Honey Almond Shortbread – Honey Sweetened, Gluten-Free
My recent trip to a Montana lavender farm became the inspiration for making Lavender Honey Almond Shortbread. Over the years I’ve experimented with my basic shortbread recipe any number of times. Though never before with the addition of lavender.
Rich, delicate, tender, crisp and crumbly good. These are the adjectives to describe shortbread. And especially so when shortbread is made without gluten to give them structure.
Lavender Honey Almond Shortbread are made gluten-free with finely ground almonds and oat and rice flours. A light, local honey gives them a hint of sweetness. And a rounded spoonful of fragrant and flavorful lavender makes them distinctively floral.
Before visiting Purple Mountain Lavender Farm, I hadn’t realized how many varieties of lavender there are. Approximately 40 different species and 400 varieties of lavender! There are both subtle and dramatic differences in color, hue, fragrance, blooming time, strength and taste between these many varieties. Debra Davis grows over 25 varieties in her Montana farm.
I grow one variety in our garden (the only variety sold in our local garden centers), an English Lavender known as Munstead. What a lovely surprise to read that our Munstead lavender with its sweet fragrance and lovely color is considered one of the most flavorful varieties, a true culinary lavender.
Although many sources agree that there is no definitive difference between ornamental and culinary lavender. The varieties of lavender best for cooking should have both a sweet fragrance and lovely color.
Though, there are many other lavender varieties that have deeper color than my Munstead. Such as this culinary lavender on the left from Purple Mountain. The lavender above and on the right is Munstead Lavender from our garden. (Which I should have harvested sooner to retain its color.)
As an aside, lavender is a member of the mint family. So, but of course, lavender has many culinary uses.
A few tips
- Culinary lavender is either dried or fresh lavender flowers grown free of chemicals and pesticides.
- For the best results, choose varieties with both a sweet fragrance and lovely color.
- Do sort through the lavender to remove stems and leaves and odds and ends. For it is the flowers that give dishes the fragrance and taste of lavender.
- When experimenting with lavender, begin with a small amount of lavender flowers and add more to taste.
- To retain the flavor and fragrance of dried lavender, store it in glass or pottery containers with tight-fitting lids so the oils will not escape from the flowers.
A word of caution:
Do not cook with pre-packaged lavender purchased from a craft store, as it could easily contain pesticides or toxic chemicals.
Lavender Honey Almond Shortbread
Gluten-Free. Rich, tender and crumbly good.
Bake the Lavender Honey Almond Shortbread on an insulated cookie sheet or a double-sheet pan to keep the bottoms from browning too quickly. To create a double-pan, use two half-sheet pans with rolled edges. This way the pans sit on top of one another with a layer of air between them.
When I use grass-fed, Kerrygold lightly salted butter for these shortbread, no additional salt is needed. Sometimes, though, I make shortbread with coconut oil. Then, a pinch of salt brightens their flavor.
Makes 14 two-inch cookies Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 ¼ hours, including resting and baking time
½ cup blanched, slivered almonds
4 ounces chilled butter OR ½ cup chilled coconut oil
3 tablespoons light, local honey
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup oat flour
Large pinch sea salt (if using unsalted butter)
1- 1½ tablespoons dried lavender blossoms, depending upon the strength of your lavender
- Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Toast the almonds for 10 minutes or until golden. Set them aside to cool. Turn the oven off. When the almonds are cool, finely chop them in a food processor. Set aside.
- Use either a food processor or an electric mixer to cream together the butter or coconut oil, honey and vanilla until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides to incorporate the honey.
- Add the rice flour, oat flour, finely chopped almonds and optional salt. When almost incorporated add the lavender. When mixed throughout, transfer the dough to the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to make it easier to handle.
- Use a #40 scoop to form cookies. Place them on a parchment lined pan. Refrigerate them for 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Transfer the Lavender Honey Almond Shortbread to a parchment-lined, rimmed double baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart. Use the heel of your hand to flatten each cookie to about ⅓ inch thick.
- Bake the shortbread for 12 minutes. Turn the pan 180 degrees and bake another 5 minutes.
- Let the Lavender Honey Almond Shortbread cool before removing them from the pan.
- Alternatively, freeze the uncooked balls of dough. Bake as many or as few as you would like. Do let them soften enough to be able to flatten each cookie before baking them.