Roomie and I recently watched The Hundred-Foot Journey. The film tapped into all the love I have for food and cooking, and so I simply had to try my hand at making something to honor and echo all that I visually feasted on. After some thought, I was ultimately inspired to do a little experimenting with my trusty Shortbread recipe.
How could I fuse the tastes of such divergent cuisines? One, classical and ruled by strict technique fueled by fresh, regional ingredients. The other, steeped in bright and flavorful spices that echo the hot and steamy climate of South-East Asia. I went to my pantry and pulled out two of my favorite things from each France and India: Lavender and Cardamom. The question then was would these flavors work together?
The answer was a qualified… yes. It was missing something. An element to marry all the flavors together and give you the perfect bite. There’s nothing like a shot of citrus to pull a recipe together… Orange glaze!
What resulted is the perfect tea biscuit. Crisp and delicate, not too sweet, and gently perfumed with the lavender and cardamom to make this shortbread something out of the ordinary. Be sure to make yourself a nice cup of tea to eat these biscuits with some good friends, and cue up a film that inspires you to create your own fusion recipe!
Lavender Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Orange Glaze
- 1 C. butter, softened
- 1/2 C sugar
- 2 C. flour
- 1 Tbs. Lavender buds, dried
- 1 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
- 1 C. confectioners sugar
- Zest of one large orange
- 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 Tbs. butter, melted
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, lavender and cardamom.
- Add the butter to the dry mix, making sure to cut it into smaller, 1″ pieces. This will make it easier to blend in than two big chunks of butter.
- Using a fork or pastry cutter, mix the butter into the flour mixture. Making sure you get the butter as incorporated as you can.
- Once the mixture begins to look like wet sand, using your hands pull all the dough together into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Give the mixture a slight knead, just to make sure it all pulls together, and isn’t too dry and crumbly. The dough should easily hold together and not break. If it’s still a little too dry you can either add a little more butter or a few sprinkles of water to the dough, just until it feels moist. Don’t over knead, or you’ll make the butter too warm and your cookies won’t be nice and flaky.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a sheet approximately 1/4″ thick. Cut out your cookies. You can use a cookie cutter, but I just use the lip of a regular glass, making sure to dip the rim into some flour to make sure the dough doesn’t stick.
- Place your cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Once you’ve cut your first cookies, just take the scraps of the dough and pull them back into a ball, roll them out , and cut your cookies again until all the dough has been used.
- Bake the cookies for approximately 15-20 minutes. Be sure to check them after 15 minutes, they’re done when they’re a nice light golden brown color. If you leave them in too long they will dry out.
- Immediately remove them from the cookie sheet and put on a rack to cool completely. Be careful taking them off the sheet, they’re still a little soft and delicate when hot from the oven. So just be sure not to handle them too roughly, or they’ll break.
Once your cookies have completely cooled, make the glaze.
- Put the confectioners sugar in a bowl.
- Zest the orange directly into the confectioners sugar.
- Cut the orange in half and squeeze out about 2 Tbs. of juice. I only needed half the orange to get enough juice, but it will vary with each orange.
- In a glass measuring cup, microwave the butter until melted, about 20-30 seconds.
- Add the melted butter to the sugar. This little bit of butter will help your glaze set more quickly.
- With a small whisk, incorporate all the ingredients together.
- If the glaze seems a little thin, add more sugar in small increments, approximately a teaspoon at a time. If it seems too thick, add a bit more juice or water, also approximately a teaspoon at a time.
Now take your cookies and one by one, holding with your fingertips, dip them into the glaze. You don’t want to fully submerge the cookies, just touch the top of the glaze. The tips of your fingers shouldn’t get much glaze on them. If it’s the right consistency it should adhere nicely and create a smooth opaque surface of glaze on the top of the cookie.
As you pull the cookie out from the glaze, let any excess glaze fall back into the bowl, then put the cookie back on the cooling rack to let the glaze set. Allow to set at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
Note: Not sure where to find lavender and cardamom? I got my cardamom at the local International market, and there’s a wonderful website, Mountain Rose Herbs, where you can buy both at really reasonable prices. I love to make my own teas, and I get most of my bulk dried or hard to find herbs from them, including my lavender.