In the Kitchen with Ricky: Lilac blossom shortbread a literal taste of the season
Wed., May 24, 2023
Capture the scent of lilac blossoms in these buttery, not-too-sweet shortbread cookies. (Ricky Webster)
With the Lilac Festival behind us, and the blooms showing up and adding pops of color throughout the city, I figured it was time to share this delicious and beautiful recipe with you all.
This recipe comes together quite easily, especially with the use of a food processor. We have made shortbread in the past, but with the inclusion of fragrant lilac blossoms bring an interesting light floral flavor to the buttery and delicate cookie. What is also unique about this cookies are the whole blossoms layered throughout the dough. Although this step is optional, it’s a nice way for you to know exactly what you’re eating.
This recipe is more buttery than sweet, so if you would like it sweeter, I suggest making a double batch of the lilac sugar and using it to sprinkle atop the cookies prior to baking for a nice sugar crust. Also, extra lilac sugar is great in tea.
Cleaning and separating the blossoms from the stems takes a bit of patience, but I think it makes for a relaxing task and an even more delicious reward in the end.
Lilac Blossom Shortbread
For the sugar:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lilac blossoms, cleaned
For the shortbread:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
All lilac sugar (from above)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh lilac blossoms, cleaned and divided
Make the lilac sugar: Combine sugar and the blossoms in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
Pulse until combined and the sugar becomes pale lilac in color.
For the cookies: Preheat oven to 325F.
In the same bowl of the food processor, add to the sugar: flour, butter, salt, and pulse to combine.
Continue running the processor until the dough comes together and makes a ball.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap or parchment paper, pressing into a disk about 2 inches thick.
Place the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up and make it easier to work with.
Remove 1 piece of dough and place onto a floured surface.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle and using 1/4 cup of the lilac blossoms, scatter half of them over the dough.
Then fold the dough a couple times to layer them in.
Roll out dough again into a rectangle.
Scatter the remaining lilac blossoms over the dough and roll it out until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Adding the blossoms to the dough is optional, as most of the lilac flavor will come from the sugar.
Using a 2-inch cutter in the shape of your choice, cut out about 24 cookies and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Bake the cookies for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until they just begin to brown around the edges.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to continue to cool.
Repeat with remaining disk of cookie dough.
Yield: Makes about 50 cookies (cut with a 2-inch cutter)
Notes: The raw cookie dough will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months (thaw completely in the fridge overnight before using).
When the shortbread is completely cold, allow to sit on the counter for about 20 minutes before rolling out and cutting cookies.
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