February 10, 2013

A Love Letter: Lavender Shortbread Cookies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing. ~ Josie Huang

I thought about you as I was taking out various baking instruments from the pantry: the flour, baking powder and sugar.

I carefully measured the lavender buds onto my measuring spoon as the I inhaled the scent of ease and relaxation from the dried flower. The scent intensified after I ground them. It was that signature lavender scent—no one could miss guessing what it is.

I’ve never made cookies from scratch before actually, let alone used a rolling pin and cookie cutters (heart- and lip-shaped, no less) until today.

Although I love to cook, I was never this motivated enough to do all the work—the patience to deal with the floury and sticky messes—the care to attentively and careful with each movement of measuring, holding, mixing, rolling, piping and sprinkling.

But then, thinking of how I love to taste something delicious beyond words could describe and feeling the satisfaction of all of the senses that I imagine you would experience too (because of how good these little cookies are), I just had to give it a shot.

You see, this is not just about how good these shortbread cookies taste.

The senses from the sight (shades of color representing love and passion); smell (waft of butter followed by the floral and sensuous lavender); touch (different textures of sugar sprinkles, biting from-crunch-then-turning-to-crumbles flour and butter doughy goodness, followed by the smooth velvety cream cheese icing to melt everything together); taste (floral lavender paired with sweet and tangy strawberry, with a waft of butter in the backdrop) and sound (the utters of “Yum,”Mmm” or other iterations to express how good these little heavenly bites are (hopefully).

It is upon manifesting all of those senses, an ebullient thrill and creative energy jolted through every part of my body, an idea borne in celebration of  what we receive and share with each other:

You present patience, care and love, with my one hundred percent satisfaction.

I want to offer a token of appreciation for you as my Valentine’s Day gift, something I make with my hands.

I love to bake, but what I love even more is sharing my joy with people whom I adore and care for; I also love lavender, strawberry and combining the two together.

So, I looked up ideas of how to make shortbread cookies from scratch and created this recipe. I am convinced that making these cookies from scratch will be it—the perfect gift. Because it was made with my heart pouring out, for you.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

(Makes about 1 dozen cookies)


 For the shortbread cookies:

1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup white sugar + another 2T for dusting before baking in oven
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup corn starch
½ tsp sea salt
Cookie cutters & rolling pin

For the icing:

1 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 oz of strawberry cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp sea salt
Red food coloring (or color of your choice)
Sugar sprinkles for decorating
Piping bag


For the shortbread cookies:

  1. After the butter has softened a while at room temperature, cream butter until soft and fluffy in a bowl using an electric mixer.
  2. Add ¼ cup white sugar, 1T ground lavender and salt to the butter.  Mix for about 3 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and corn starch, then add to the butter-sugar-lavender mixture (from step two above).
  4. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
  5. Add the remaining ½ T whole lavender buds into the mixture. With a spatula, incorporate well into the mixture.
  6. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  7. Flour the working surface and roll the dough 1/4-inch thick, and cut the dough with cookie cutters.
  8. Place the cookies on an greased baking sheet and prick them slightly with a fork.
  9. Sprinkle with sugar.
  10. Preheat oven to 325 F degree.
  11. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  12. Allow to cool to room temperature; prepare cream cheese icing.

For the icing:

  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together.
  2. Add powdered sugar and salt to the mixture and blend well.
  3. Add red food coloring. Mix well again.
  4. Fill the cream cheese mixture into a piping bag for decorating.

For decorating:

  1. Pipe the cream cheese icing around the rim of the cookie or desired shape.
  2. Add sugar or other decorative sprinkles as the finishing touches.



Josie Huang is a passionate yoga practitioner and wandering bikramite; a curious home chef and experimental baker who thinks of her kitchen like a fun science lab; a fledgling who is carving her career path combining her passions in health, yoga, food and nutrition. When she is not practicing yoga, cooking or studying, you can find her reading a good book, talking about health, yoga, food and nutrition to anyone who would listen to her or just want to try her cooking. You can find her via her website.



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Ed: Bryonie Wise

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