Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies are the perfect way to brighten up your day with their sunny flavor and fragrant aroma. And the best part? Making these melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies is as easy as “one, two, three!”
Read on and I’ll show you how shortbread cookies follow a classic baking ratio. Just add a smidge of lemon zest and culinary lavender for a crisp, buttery, and oh-so-delicious batch of cookies. Or keep some frozen dough for a lemon lavender cookie anytime you want.
You probably know that pound cakes are made with a pound of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. But you may not know that other baking recipes also start from classic baking ratios.
I learned that quick breads and muffins are based on the same ratio from Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio when I was working on my kale and cheese quick bread. Next I used the power of ratios to make some orange poppy seed waffles. No recipe required!
Shortbread cookies follow yet another ratio. That’s 1 ounce of sugar, 2 ounces of unsalted butter, and 3 ounces of flour. Note that there are no eggs in shortbread cookies. But knowing the formula for these lemon lavender shortbread cookies means that you can create an infinite number of shortbread cookies.
About culinary lavender
Culinary lavender is lavender grown for use in cooking and baking. If you have a garden, the best culinary lavender is Lavandula Angustifolia, although you can use other varietals not labeled ornamental or decorative. If you don’t have a garden, this is the culinary lavender I recommend for these lemon lavender cookies.
Some common uses for culinary lavender include other desserts like an Earl Grey lavender cake or lavender ice cream, blueberry pie and jams, in salad dressings with herbes de Provence, as a rub for roast chicken breasts or pork, or to make lavender syrup for cocktails like lavender gimlet or the Lady Bridgerton Empress Gin cocktail. Be careful not to add too much because it can taste soapy in large amounts.
Lemon zest uses the flavor of lemon oils without adding liquid to your shortbread cookies. The best tool for zesting is a microplane – go over the entire lemon but stop before you get into the bitter pith.
Do you love lemon? I’ve got a variety of lemon recipes including a lemon bar with graham cracker crust, ricotta lemon pasta, lemon herb tahini sauce, lemon apple curd, or Earl Grey scones with lemon glaze.
Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Variations and substitutions
So now that you know the secret of these lemon lavender shortbread cookies, the sky is your limit! Here are some shortbread cookie variations I’ve been dreaming about:
- Make these lemon and lavender shortbread with a lemon drizzle. Or dip the tops of the shortbread cookies into the icing and then re-invert while the icing dries.
- Toasted pecan shortbread
- Orange poppy seed shortbread
- For Pride, add rainbow chips to turn this recipe into rainbow shortbread cookies or make my rainbow sugar cookies.
- Make Linzer cookies using an almond shortbread cookie filled with raspberry jam
Recipe tips and tricks
Making the lemon lavender shortbread dough
Step 1: To make the lemon lavender cookie dough, cream room temperature butter together with the sugar, lemon zest, and dried culinary lavender (Panels #1 and #2 below).
Tip from the wise quacker: when you’re making shortbread cookies, cream your butter and sugar only until they’re mixed well. You don’t want “light and fluffy” here, or the air you incorporate will cause your cookies will puff when baked.
Step 2: Add the vanilla extract (Panel #3).
Step 3: Add the flour (Panel #4 above) and mix. Shortbread cookie dough may be very crumbly (Panel #5).
Step 4: Wrap the cookie dough crumbles in plastic wrap and knead it gently until it comes together into a disk (Panel #6).
Rolling and cutting the cookies
Step 5: Give your shortbread cookie dough a quick chill in the fridge to make it easier to roll out on a lightly floured countertop.
Step 6: Roll and cut your cookies.
One thing that’s beautiful about these lemon lavender shortbread cookies is that you can cut them into whatever you shape you desire. Or, you can shape the dough into a log, store it in the freezer, and cut off slices to bake whenever you like. Unbaked shortbread cookie dough can be kept in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
Baking the cookies
Step 7: Lay the cutout cookies on a cookie sheet close together, but not touching. Shortbread cookies won’t spread much with baking, especially if you chill them first.
Step 8: Bake the lemon lavender cookies until they are just light brown in color. They will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven.
No, these are two different things. Short crust pastry is often made with none to little sugar and is intended to be crumbly.
No. But if this post doesn’t have you running out to buy a kitchen scale, I don’t know what will!
Yes. Shape the unbaked dough into a log and slice off rounds for baking as you desire. Bake at the same temperature for a minute or two longer. Frozen shortbread dough will keep, double wrapped and in a freezer bag, for up to 6 months.
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.
Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies
- 2 ounces (57 grams or 4½ tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 4 ounces (113 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender flowers
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 6 ounces (170 grams or 1⅓ cup) bleached all purpose flour plus extra for rolling out the dough
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium size mixing bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, cream the sugar, butter, lavender, and lemon zest on medium speed just until mixed well.2 ounces (57 grams or 4½ tablespoons) granulated sugar, 4 ounces (113 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender flowers, zest of 1 lemon
- Add the vanilla and mix for one minute.½ teaspoon vanilla
- Add the flour and salt and mix. The dough may or may not clump together.6 ounces (170 grams or 1⅓ cup) bleached all purpose flour, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Pour out the shortbread cookie dough mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and knead gently until the dough just starts to come together. Once it does, put it into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Roll out the dough to about ¼ to ⅓ inch, and cut it into rounds or other shapes.
- Place the lemon lavender cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. They do not need much spacing, but do not crowd them. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your lemon lavender shortbread cookies and how long they were in the freezer. The cookies should be slightly firm and the edges just slightly brown. They will become firmer as they cool.
- Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
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