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French Farm Lavender of Provence $18.95

Cooking with “Blue Gold.”

That’s what lavender is called where it grows throughout much of the Mediterranean. The luscious scented herb has a variety of uses, both culinary and therapeutic. Lavender from Provence tends to be more mild, and thus more widely used in baking and cooking, as it doesn’t compete with the flavors of the dish.

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HOW TO USE

Lemon-Lavender Shortbread
Start to finish: 1 hour 20 minutes (20 minutes active), plus cooling
Makes 20 cookies

In a medium bowl, whisk together 292 grams (2¼ cups) all-purpose flour and ¼ teaspoon table salt. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 226 grams (16 tablespoons) salted butter (room temperature), 61 grams (½ cup) powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons L’Ami Provençal Lavande de Provence (lightly crushed) and 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest on medium until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, then mix until the ingredients are combined and begin to form a ball, about 1 minute. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured counter and gently knead until it is evenly textured, about 1 minute. Set the dough on a sheet of kitchen parchment and form it into a 10-by-6-inch rectangle about ⅜ inch thick, using a rolling pin to even out the thickness and a bench scraper to square the edges. Slide the parchment with the dough onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 300°F with a rack in the middle position. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon white sugar evenly over the dough. With the tines of a fork, poke holes in the dough in rows spaced about ½ inch apart. Using a paring knife, score the rectangle in half lengthwise, then crosswise into tenths, dividing the rectangle into twenty 3-by-1-inch cookies. Bake until the shortbread is lightly browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Using a chef’s knife, cut completely through the score marks to separate into 20 cookies. Cool completely.

Kitchen Notes

Try adding lavender to shortbread. Make it into an infused simple syrup to boost the flavor of lemonade or cocktails. Make a nice and unexpected addition to pies and crisps (blueberry crisp in particular), and can be made into a salt to add to lamb dishes or paired with juniper to make a rub for duck. Note that lavender can take on a bitter taste if overcooked.

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