Shortbread is one of those cookies that is super versatile, easy to crank out in large quantities, and consists of only the most basic ingredients. I can safely say that over the past several years, I’ve thought about experimenting with different, less conventional flavours, yet I always dismiss it. Finally on Sunday night I decided to give it a shot, making a batch of lavender shortbread and a batch of earl grey shortbread. I used a single batch recipe, dividing the batter in half to add the different flavours, which turned out to be a good idea because each half-recipe yielded about 3 dozen cookies.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp chosen flavour additive (I did 1 tbsp ground up earl grey leaves for one half-batch, and 1 tbsp dried lavender buds for the other half-batch)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Position racks in middle of oven, and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Stir flour with salt in a medium bowl.
Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl using a wooden spoon or spatula until smooth. Gradually stir in half the flour mixture until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, kneading with your hands, until dough forms a ball.
**Because I was working with the batter in half-batches, I began by beating the butter mixture in a smaller bowl, then dividing it out into two medium bowls. I then gradually added 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 tsp salt to each bowl, as well as 1 tbsp of the flavouring ingredient. Because the dough was really soft, I opted to put the batches in the fridge for about 10 mins to firm it up for rolling.
Roll dough out onto a well-floured counter until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with round cutter. Arrange on prepared sheet with at least 1 inch between, as cookies will spread as they bake.
Bake each batch about 14 mins, turning halfway through, or until just beginning to turn a light golden brown.
(Apologies for the potato-quality photos, lighting is hard when you’re baking on a whim at 10pm)