Oh, my gosh! It’s spring! I think it’s really here!
I’ve felt for a week or two now (despite a few doubtful days) that it’s time to give my trusty jar of cinnamon a rest, as it’s become considerably depleted from all my winter baking. I think it’s time to break out some new, fresh herbs and spices and bright fruit flavors.
These crisp, buttery morsels I’ve developed are made with the super-convenient Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Cookie Mix. They’re suffused with bright, tart, lemon and spicy, floral, lavender. Even more lemon and lavender are mixed together to make a smooth, lilac-colored glaze. The result is a boatload of crispy, beautiful, bite-sized gluten free cookies you’ll want to pop into your mouth, one after another.
Be sure you use food-grade lavender, available in spice aisles, bulk bins or online. If you grow it and dry it yourself, and you’re sure there’s nothing on it you wouldn’t mind eating, like exhaust, pesticides, or anything else that can happen to a lovely lavender bush out in the wild, there’s nothing to stop you from using some from last summer’s harvest.
Grinding lavender to powder is easy – and it makes your kitchen smell great, too. You can either use a mortar and pestle, if you have one, or a spice grinder. A coffee grinder that is wiped very clean works, too. In the picture below, the lavender on the left was ground in a coffee grinder, and the lavender on the right was done with a mortar and pestle. Some longer fibers are left in mortar-and-pestle grinding that would get chopped in an electric grinder, but both were similar and worked just fine for these purposes.
With lemons zested and juiced, lavender ground and divided (some for cookies and some for glaze), and butter or shortening softened, it’s time to mix up the dough. Using a mixer, blend the shortening, cookie mix, lavender, and zest until it looks like fine, sandy crumbs. (Start your mixer on low because the mixture is a little dusty at first.) Then add lemon juice and vanilla and beat until the crumbs join forces to become bigger crumbs, and then finally come together in a ball of dough.
I found this dough very easy to work with – not too sticky, not too delicate. You might even forget it’s gluten free. Rolling it out is even easier if you refrigerate the dough for an hour or two first, or even overnight. It also gives the flavors time to meld. I recommend rolling dough out between parchment or waxed paper for easy cleanup and less sticking.
Make sure the dough is rolled out to a uniform ¼ -⅜ inch thick. If it’s under ¼ inch, it will brown or burn quicker, and anything over ⅜ - ½ inch takes longer to cook, so if the dough is not rolled out uniformly, you could have some thinner cookies that are deeply browned on the same sheet as some thick cookies that are barely cooked through. I hate when that happens.
Slip your cookies into the oven for a quick bake, and let them cool completely when they come out. Meanwhile, whip up the lemon lavender glaze. Sift the powdered sugar into the reserved lavender, add lemon juice, and whisk. That’s it! Cover it until you use it, because the top dries quickly, like it will on the cookies.
Making these for an Easter celebration? Try using a small egg-shaped cookie cutter, or do a little extra sculpting and manipulation of round cutouts to make some cute Easter egg cookies.
Yum! These crisp, bite-size cookies, with their tart, sweet glaze and relaxing but energizing perfume make an easy pop-in-your-mouth dessert and are perfect with a cup of tea. If it’s still wintry where you are, or if you’re just not quite ready to give up the comfort of cinnamon, you can try these Orange Cinnamon Walnut Cookies which you can also make with a box of Gluten Free Cookie Mix.
Personally, it’s all spring for me from here on out. Happy Easter, and happy spring everybody!
Gluten Free Lemon Lavender Snaps
- ½ cup butter or butter-flavored shortening, softened
- 1 box Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Cookie Mix
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
- 3 Tablespoons dried lavender, finely ground, divided
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon Lavender Glaze
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 scant teaspoons ground lavender (taken from the 3 Tablespoons already ground)
- ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
Grind all 3 tablespoons lavender to a fine dust in coffee grinder or with mortar and pestle. After grinding, reserve 2 scant teaspoons in a separate small bowl, for use later in making the glaze.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together butter or shortening, lemon zest, remaining ground lavender (about 1 ½ tablespoons) and cookie mix. Start on low, as the mixture can kick up dust in the beginning. The mixture will become fine, sandy crumbs. Add lemon juice and vanilla and beat again until the dough becomes thick, sticks together when pinched, and starts to form into a ball. The mixer may struggle a little to get through the thick mixture. Mix well, at least 1-2 minutes.
Refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours or overnight, if desired. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 300° F. Sandwich the dough between parchment or waxed paper and roll to a uniform ¼-⅜ inch thickness. Use small cookie cutters to cut out 1- to 2-inch rounds or other small shapes like Easter eggs.
Transfer cookies to a lightly greased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes for 1-inch cookies or 12-14 minutes for 1 ½ - 2-inch cookies. Check often and take out when tops look dry and edges are barely browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make lemon lavender glaze, take 2 scant teaspoons ground lavender, reserved from initial grind, and whisk with sifted powdered sugar and 4 teaspoons lemon juice. The glaze will be thin and appear a dark lilac color. Glaze the cookies once they’re completely cooled. Glaze will harden and become shiny upon drying.
Cookies keep 4-5 days in tightly sealed container. Cookies can be made vegan by using a vegan shortening such as Earth Balance. Other shape options:
· Roll the dough into balls the size of small marbles and place on the cookie sheet. If left round, the cookies will spread and the tops will crack. (Flavor is not affected.)
· Roll the dough into balls the size of small marbles and place on the cookie sheet. Flatten dough with a thumb or finger before baking.
Makes 36-48 1- to 2-inch cookies.