Cooking With Herbs

Recipes, thoughts, and hints for enjoying herbs in the kitchen



Tasty Treats To Give and Keep

Yesterday I went to a cookie swap down in Portland at my favorite book store, Rabelais.  There isn’t a cookbook that you would want to own that isn’t on their shelves.  The owners, Samantha and Don Lingren, are truly knowledgeable about food and so it’s not surprising that the cookies their customers and friends bring to the swap are worth carrying home.

My contribution this year was a batch of chocolate lavender shortbreads.  I originally made these cookies for a story on chocolate wedding treats for Elegant Bride.  They are pretty quick to put together, look pretty, have a rich chocolate flavor enhanced by the subtle touch of lavender. 

These are versatile cookies:  roll them out, then cut them into any size or shape.  It’s also possible to freeze the dough before baking - or freeze the baked cookies, then thaw before dipping them into the chocolate. 

This is Anita Calero’s photo of the cookies from Elegant Bride.  It has a decidedly summery approach but illustrates the versatility.

Here’s the recipe in plenty of time for Christmas.


1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lavender flowers (1 teaspoon dried)

(This gives a very subtle flavor.  Increase amounts for a more definitive taste.)

1 1/2 cups flour

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

3/4 cup butter at room temperature

3 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and tempered

Place the sugar and lavender in a mini-processor and process until the lavender is powdered and completely combined with the sugar.  Set aside

Whisk the cocoa into the flour.  If it is lumpy, sift.  Set aside.

In a bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer.  Gradually beat in the lavender sugar.  Add the egg  yolks and vanilla and beat until just combined.  Stir in the cocoa mixture by hand, mixing just until no dry flour is visivle.  Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, press into a flat square, wrap well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly flour a work surface.  Cut off one quarter of the dough, keeping the rest refrigerated.  Using a ligtly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4” thick.  Use a cookie cutter or cut the dough into squares or strips and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Reroll and cut any scraps.  Continue in the same manner with the remaining dough.  Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes or until set.  Cool on the baking sheet for a minute then remove to a rack to finish cooling.

While cookies cool, prepare the tempered chocolate for dipping.  Remove from the heat and dip one half of the cookies in the chocolate.  Set on aluminum foil or waxed paper to dry.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies depending upon the size

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© photos Anita Calero, Emelie Tolley;  text Emelie Tolley


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