Today I started preparing for the upcoming Vernal Equinox by making these delicious Lavender & Lemon Shortbread cookies. Yes, we ate a few today, but the rest I placed in the freezer until March 20th when we will welcome springtime and celebrate Ostara, the Goddess of Spring.
Who is Ostara?
Ostara, also known as Ēostre, is the Germanic goddess of spring and dawn. On the old Germanic calendar, the equivalent month to April was called “Ōstarmānod” – or Easter-month which was celebrated with festivals to honor fertility, renewal and re-birth.
Celebrating the vernal equinox and the coming of spring is a way to connect with nature. It is a way to be mindful of the earth’s magic and to recognize that this day is a day of perfect balance when the sun can be seen directly above the earth’s equator. It is the time when light and dark are ompletely equal. This time signals a period of new beginnings, cleansing, rebirth and renewal.
Lavender & Lemon Shortbread: An Offering for the Goddess of Spring
We celebrate Ostara, the goddess of spring by having a spring feast. One of the recipes that I love is lavender & lemon shortbread cookies. They taste like springtime baked into a delicious, buttery confection.
I love baking with lavender. It lends such a lovely flavor to baked goods. I grow my own, but when I run out (I use it a lot!) I buy from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the egg yolk, lemon juice and lemon zest, and stir to combine. Then add the flour, arrowroot or cornstarch, dried lavender, and salt.
I use a Kitchenaid stand up mixer with the paddle attachment to mix everything together until a ball of dough forms. You could do the same by hand or with another type of mixer. Once you have your dough ball, Take it out of the form it into a log shape. I like to roll my log back and forth on parchment paper to get my log nice and smooth and even.
Then wrap your dough log in parchment paper, and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.
When your dough has been in the freezer for about 30 minutes, go ahead and preheat your oven to 300ºF.
Slice your log into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices, then place the rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet.
I like to slice my rounds and them roll each one with a patterned wooden rolling pin. This makes the cookies look so fancy.
Bake for 25-30 minutes whilewatching them closely after 25 minutes, as they will start to brown pretty quickly. Take them out when the edges just start to turn golden. The centers will still be fairly soft.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking rack for about 7 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. They will firm up as they cool.
Once cool, enjoy!
Notes: The dough can be made ahead and stored for several days in the fridge or for up to a month in the freezer. I like to have a dough or two on hand, just in case I have an inprompto guest. These are great from the freezer, straight to the oven.
If you want shaped cookies, simply chill a flattened disk of dough instead of a log. Then, roll the chilled dough out on a floured surface and cut out with cookie cutters.
Lavender & Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- 14 Tbsp butter softened 2 sticks minus 2 tbsp
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest a microplane is the best tool for this
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers
- pinch salt
- Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the egg yolk, lemon juice and lemon zest, and stir to combine.
- Then add the flour, arrowroot, dried lavender, and salt.
- Stir everything together until the dough begins to hold together.
- Take it out of the bowl and form it into a log shape.
- Wrap the dough log in parchment paper, twisting the ends to help hold it together.
- Put the dough in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes, or until firm. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Slice the log into 1/4 inch rounds, then place the rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet, about an inch or so apart.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check them closely after 25 minutes, as they will start to brown pretty quickly. Take them out when only the edges just barely start to turn golden. The centers will still be fairly soft.
- Let them cool on the baking sheet for several minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. They will firm up as they cool.