I can't in all honesty tell you what possessed me to stop at the table with the lavendery potatoes. I mean, I'm happy to eat squash blossoms and sip chamomile tea. I've even been known to strew edible flowers on salads. But that's pretty much where I draw the line. I'm not all, "Let's put daisies in the pudding and tulips in the brie!" Thanks, but no.
So I was suspicious of the potatoes at a recent food event, at least at first. The woman explained that she'd roasted them with lavender salt, and honestly, it took just a bite to admit that the flavors really worked. So I bought the salt for a friend, and then, because I was jealous of my own magnanimousness, I bought some plain culinary lavender for myself.
Did I mention there'd been wine?
So I get home that night and think -- like any self respecting girl after a fun party -- oh mercy, what in heaven's name have I done?
Thank god for Twitter. I put out a panicky "I have culinary lavender and now what????" missive and within moments food writer Amy Sherman of Cooking With Amy pinged back, "Very nice in shortbread or sugar cookies."
Recipe for Lavender and Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches
Did you know that lavender and mint are sisters? Turns out they're from the same family, and they pair beautifully in this simple, pretty dessert. I went easy on the lavender; you may up the quantity if you've got more bravado than I. Thanks to Amy Sherman and Emily Luchetti's Classic Stars Desserts for inspiring the shortbread cookies.
Makes 3 dozen cookies, or 18 smallish ice cream sandwiches
8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized slices
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon culinary lavender, plus additional for garnish
Mint ice cream (I used Haagen Dazs Five)
Cream butter and sugar on low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat 15 seconds. Add the two flours, the salt, and the lavender and continue to beat on low for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the dough comes together.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Flour a board and a pin and roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. If the dough is sufficiently firm, use a 1-3/4-inch round cutter to stamp out circles and transfer to the lined sheets. Refrigerate at least one hour.
(If the dough is too warm after you roll it out, halve it and carefully transfer the halves to separate lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, then stamp out rounds as directed. Refrigerate rounds once more if necessary.)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake the shortbread rounds about 35 minutes, reversing the baking sheets halfway through to ensure even cooking. Let cookies cool to room temperature on the sheets.
Once completely cool, place a small scoop of mint ice cream between 2 cookies and press gently. Wrap sandwiches with plastic and keep frozen until ready to serve. Sprinkle sides lightly with additional lavender, if desired.