Ooooooo …..  lemon and lavender?  Let your taste buds imagine this flavor.  Oh, then bake these for yourself (and share, if you can!).

Admittedly, I have a tendency to introduce provencal flavorings when I can.  I seek these opportunities within savory and sweet cooking techniques. Dried lavender is one of those provencal flavorings which hold a special place in my heart.  This classic herb introduces a distinct and recognizable essence of freshness.

Soooooo soothing.

With patience, I’ve cut 1″-by-1″ squares and placed them within unbleached, ‘lil mini muffin cups for presentation.   The soothing fragrance of lavender, the incredible smoothness of the lemon topping all in a single bite makes an incredibly satisfying treat.

This recipe originates from Fine Cooking, and became my favorite when I understood the importance of combining melted butter verses softened butter within the shortbread recipe.  This ensures a crispy texture worthy of the soft lemon topping.  Ahhhhhhh!

My adaptation of this recipe is to sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of  dried lavender to the shortbread mixture.  The fragrance of lavender permeates these squares (and your kitchen!) throughout the baking process, and marries well with lemon.  Oh, yes …  they adore each other!

LemonShortbreadBars_xlg

Photo, courtesy of Fine Cooking

Ingredients

  • 14 tablespoons Butter, unsalted, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup Sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, kosher
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lavender, dried
  • 2 cups Flour, unbleached all purpose (2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 Eggs, large
  • 1/4 cup Sugar, granulated
  • 3 tablespoons Flour, unbleached all purpose
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt, kosher
  • 3/4 cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest, fresh and finely zested
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar, Confectioners Powdered

Instructions

Make the Crust:

  1. Line a straight-sided 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan with foil or parchment paper, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. Lightly coat the sides of the liner (not the bottom) with nonstick cooking spray, oil, or melted butter to prevent the lemon topping from sticking.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, and salt. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.
  3. Meanwhile, position an oven rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Remove pan from refrigeration, place in preheated oven and bake until the crust is golden and set, about 30 minutes. While crust is baking, make the lemon topping.

Make the Lemon Topping

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, and salt together until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.
  2. Pour the topping over the hot crust. Return the pan to the oven and increase the heat to 350°F. Bake until the topping is set in the center (it no longer wiggles when the pan is moved) and the edges are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from oven and set on a cooling rack until the crust is completely firm, at least 1 hour. (For faster cooling, put the bars in the fridge once the pan is no longer piping hot, or even outside in winter.) When the bottom of the pan is cool, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the liner from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 2-inch squares. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the lemon topping. Serve at room temperature.
  4. The bar cookies will keep, refrigerated, for 2-3 days.