Claybank Farm Lavender Biscuits

July 1, 2006

Claybank Farm Lavender Biscuits
Varietal: Dessert Wines

Makes 36 cookies

Joie Wines & Farm Cooking School, located on the trendy Naramata Bench in the Okanagan (British Columbia) wine region, is a truly joyous combination of winery, gastronomic bed-and-breakfast inn, and destination cooking school. The brainchild of husband-and-wife team Heidi Noble and Michael Dinn, Joie opened in 2002, when the dynamic chef-and-sommelier duo chucked life in the big city (Vancouver, B.C.). Heidi created this biscuit, a.k.a. “cookie” to Americans, for her friend and neighbor, Pati Mathias of Claybank Lavender Farm. The wonderful sablé-style (butter) cookies are a beautiful way to end a meal paired with seasonal fruit, lemon curd, or homemade ice cream or sorbet. Or wine-pairing guru Michael suggests simply serving with Elephant Island’s Apricot Dessert Wine from the Naramata Bench. But beware: Heidi warns it is very important not to use too much lavender, or your cookies will taste like a bar of soap! Less is more, when cooking with lavender, she stresses. This recipe, along with a complete profile on Joie and other Okanagan wineries, will appear in my seventh book, Northwest Wining and Dining (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007).

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, preferably organic

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender, crumbled, Pink lavender or Blue
Rosea varieties recommended

Zest of one orange

Zest of half a lemon

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed about 3 minutes, or until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the egg, vanilla, orange and lemon zest, and lavender. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined, being careful not to overwork the dough.

Form the dough into a 12-inch log (2 inches in diameter) on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll up the dough in the plastic wrap. Chill the dough on a baking sheet at least 4 hours, or until firm.

Ten minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread the turbinado sugar on a cookie sheet and roll the cold log of dough until the outside is coated. Discard any remaining sugar.

With a heavy kitchen knife, cut the log into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the slices one inch apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies turn slightly golden around the edges.

Place the baking sheets on cooling racks for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the cooling racks with a spatula and cool completely before serving.

Cook’s Hint: Turbinado sugar is a blond-colored raw sugar with a delicate molasses flavor.