(scroll down for recipe)
One of the big successes this summer in California was an idea Grandma suggested. A tea party (no relation to the political fiasco of the same name). Grandma's idea was that we would each make some kind of sandwich and dessert for a party. We would dress up like fancy ladies. The girls would make place cards. She would make tea. Party!
Part of what made it a success was that it was in Grandma's kitchen. I confess that I have a tough time being loose in the kitchen at home with the girls. Always in the back of my mind is the clean up that follows any messes. With two adults versus two kids this time, I felt like we had a chance.
So bring on the watermelon-marshmallow sandwiches, blueberry-onion-sour-cream sandwiches, egg salad on toast points, and brie on crackers with horseradish-cranberry relish. For dessert, lemon tartlettes with caramel sauce, chocolate cupcakes with whipped cream and raspberries, rice krispie treats, brownies, and lavender shortbread with lemon glaze and sea salt.
My original dessert idea was rosemary shortbread, but when I went out in the yard to cut some rosemary from my mom's plant that is so huge it's really a bush, I saw she also had a lot of lavender, so I chose that instead. Her lavender had very lovely flowers, so I topped the shortbread with the little petals. The glaze I made then was only semi-successful--I tried heating sugar and lemon juice in the microwave (Hey, what can I say? It was a last-minute inspiration). Since then, I have used powdered sugar for the glaze.
I made a batch yesterday and there was a little dough leftover, so I rolled it in wax paper and stuck it in the fridge. This morning I just sliced it and baked it. Not very pretty, but oh-so-delicious!
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TBL chopped lavender (I used 2 TBLs in Cali--it was a little much, but 1 TBL isn't enough.)
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 TBL honey
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven 350°
In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and lavender. In a separate bowl, cream butter, honey, and powdered sugar. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, a little at a time. Gather up dough onto floured board. Roll. Cut. I've used a butter knife to cut rectangles and I've also used a small glass to cut circles. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake. For baking at home, I actually baked them on 350° for 5 minutes. Then turned the oven down to 300° and used the convection fan for another 5+ minutes, until lightly brown. Cool. Glaze. Sprinkle with sea salt.
(+/-) 2/3 cup powdered sugar
(+/-) 2 TBL lemon juice
(+/-) 1 tsp lemon zest (I used the zest from one whole lemon)
Mix. Try not to eat all of it while waiting for the shortbread to cool.