Lavender Sablés


Let’s talk about cookies.

Cookies are joy incarnate. Some of them are homey, like a perfectly underbaked chocolate chip cookie. Some are more exuberant, such as the circa 2004 the iced monster cookies. Some cookies veer just to the edge of healthy, such as an oatmeal raisin. And some cookies are elegant, the macaroons and financiers.

No matter the identity a cookie comes in, they have several advantages over other desserts. A cookie always feels appropriate, whether eaten with coffee or at the end of a formal dinner. Cookies are small in size. Now, this may not sound like an advantage. But there are circumstances in which one wishes to have just a bite of a sweet treat and other circumstances when one wishes to (perhaps stress) eat a lot of things. The small size of cookies lends them perfectly to both circumstances. Cookies can be baked by the dozen and then given as gifts, and there’s no awkwardness of giving someone half a cake.

And trust me, it’s quite awkward. I once gave my friend Elliott two-thirds of a pie when he moved into a new apartment. As appreciative as he was, I still wince when remembering that gift. Cookies would have been a much more appropriate.



I appreciate all manners of cookies, and these lavender sablés are my current crush. Sablés are the French answer to shortbread, buttery and sandy but a bit less dense with the addition of egg yolks. Sablés are elegant, the sort of cookie that would fit on a china saucer or a dessert plate after a long meal, but they are dead easy. The lavender adds a subtle floral note, present enough to note but light enough that the sablés tastes clean instead of heavy. They take no great skill and only a little patience to make, and the result is lovely. The most difficult part is waiting for the dough to chill before baking.

And that comes to the final advantage of cookies. Cookies are simple in a way that other baked goods are not. These sablés spend about 5 minutes in a mixer, then are shaped into logs, chilled, rolled in sugar, and baked. There’s no mixing pie crusts or waiting for cakes to cool. Cookies may never be as over the top as cupcakes can get, and they may not get internet-famous as a result, but cookies are better for that. There’s no gimmicks when it comes to cookies- they’re simple, and simply good.


Lavender Sablés

Makes between 30-40 cookies

adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Sablés would take all manner of flavors easily- I could imagine these with lemon zest, coco nibs, or even thyme if lavender isn’t your thing. Be certain to use food grade lavender buds- I found them with the dried herbs in my local grocery store, but if that’s not your reality it’s an easy thing to find through spice shops and online. Finally, the baking time might vary depending on how thick you’ve rolled your cookies. Just be careful to watch them and pull them once the edges are golden.

1 tablespoon dried lavender
8 ounces butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) cane sugar
1/4 cup (30 grams) confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon dried lavender
1/4 cup (45 grams) turbinado sugar
1 egg yolk

Place the dried lavender in the bowl of a mortar and pestle. Bash it until its light and powdered, then set aside.

In a large bowl use a hand mixer to beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl as necessary. When the butter is smooth, add in the lavender, the sugars, and the salt and turn down the mixer speed. Stir, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until the butter and sugar is well-mixed but not fluffy, about a minute. Add the egg yolks and beat until just combined.

Turn the mixer down as low as it will go and add the flour. Mix just until the flour is absorbed by the dough. At this point I finished the dough bringing it into a ball using my hands, and stirring in any flour in the bottom corners manually. Divide the ball of dough in half.

Place a piece of plastic wrap about 18 inches long on a clean surface. Place one of the balls onto the plastic wrap, and cover with plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to shape the ball into a rectangle at least 9 inches long by evenly pressing the dough out, then roll the wrapped dough to create a cylinder. Repeat with another piece of plastic wrap and the second ball. Store both pieces of dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl mix the lavender and the turbinado sugar. Spread the mixture out onto a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat. Remove your dough from the refrigerator, and unwrap it. Brush the log all around with the egg yolk, then roll in the lavender sugar. Press more sugar onto the edges as necessary. Cut the logs into 3/4 inch slices, trimming the edges as necessary. Transfer to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 14 minutes, rotating halfway, until the edges are golden and the centers are just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheets. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for a few days.


Sparkling Lavender Lemondade


I didn’t mean to make an on topic recipe. I just wanted a sparkling, floral, slightly sweet, slightly tart drink that I could enjoy as spring finally unfolds. Innocent intentions. And then Beyoncé dropped an opus, and the internet hasn’t stopped talking since. I’d recommend reading this article about Warsan Shire, whose poetry appears throughout the visual album. I definitely know I’ll be ordering her collection when it’s released.

The other big music story of late was Prince’s death. I always liked Prince. He was never the soundtrack to my life, but I grew up after his commercial heyday and I still knew every word to Kiss and 1999. He lived most of his life in Minnesota, and it was surreal and incredible to see how the state reacted to his death. Buildings across Minneapolis were bathed in purple light and there were all night dance parties at First Avenue, the club he made famous. Our local radio station played all Prince for 26 hours. Both restaurants I worked at put their playlists on hold to tune in. It was astonishing to hear the depth of music he had put out, and how good it all was. A lot of articles have been written about him, but this one gave such a good insight into what he was like, and how he ate.

Outside of music news, I’ve just taken a deep dive into What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi. It’s an astonishing book, twisting and turning between stories. It’s written by someone in complete confidence of her ability and it’s so.good. Check it out if you like good books, but especially if you like gothic fairy tales.

If you need a drink while reading, or just want something bright and refreshing, may I suggest this sparkling lavender lemonade? It may be a bit early for lemonade, which is generally thought of as a summer drink. But the temperature has been lingering in the 40s and above for the past few weeks, and in Minneapolis if it’s not snowing it’s patio weather. This lemonade is slightly sweet and slightly tart, and is best drunk in some proximity to fresh air.

Happy May, and Happy Tuesday.

Sparkling Lavender Lemonade

I find lavender flowers in the bulk spice section at my local grocery store, but I imagine they could also be found in jarred spices or by teas. If you can’t find lavender flowers, you could easily follow this template of infused syrup, lemon, and sparkling water to make your own type of lemonade. I imagine that a thyme lemonade, in particular, would be fantastic.

Serves 2

6 tablespoons lavender syrup (see recipe below)
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)
2 cups sparkling water

Stir together the syrup, lemon juice, and sparkling water. Pour over ice into two glasses. Enjoy near an open window, or even better, outside.

Lavender Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lavender flowers

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the lavender flowers, and steep for about 2 hours. Strain and cool in the refrigerator.