Lemon Shortbread with Edible Flowers

Baking with edible flowers is not something I had ever tried before so when Betany from Chloris Floral reached out to me, I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate.

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As we were both unfamiliar with this type of baking/floral preparation, it was a fun experience to try something new together. Betany is a floral designer from Sonoma County who uses seasonal, organic, local and sustainably grown flowers in her gorgeous bouquets and floral arrangements. She is also a Julliard-trained professional opera singer, and music is a great inspiration for many of her arrangements. I love music and flowers as well so it was enjoyable to spend time with someone who also shares these interests. Betany supplied the edible flowers while I figured out a tasty shortbread to accompany them.

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I had experimented the previous weekend with marigolds. For these cookies, Betany and I used violas and nasturtium. We also tried feverfew (the little flowers as seen below) which were adorable for photos but incredibly bitter. Unless you love bitter foods, are adventurous, or are just making these cookies for show, we do not recommend feverfew.

I chose a lemony shortbread with a hint of nutmeg that comes together quite easily. As it is a shortbread, it requires no egg and no leavening. You can even prep the dough a few days in advance and then just roll it out when you are ready to use it. Inspired by Loria Stern’s process, the edible flowers are lightly pressed into the dough and then the dough is cut out into shapes. I like the look of fluted edges so I chose a 2-inch round cookie cutter but you can make these using any shape you want.

The flowers do shrink significantly in the oven but with a sprinkling of sugar mixed with some lemon zest, they turn out quite pretty. Paired with a nice tea, they are perfect on a cozy, peaceful afternoon.

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Next time, a cake or cupcakes with fresh edible flowers!


Lemon Shortbread with Edible Flowers

Notes

The cookie dough can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to a month.

Ingredients

Lemon Shortbread

  • 1½ sticks butter, softened

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

  • 1¾ cup all-purpose flour

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Toppings

  • Edible Flowers, washed and dried, petals removed on the nasturtium and marigolds

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

Steps

Lemon Shortbread

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest and ground nutmeg on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the flour and salt. Continue to mix until well incorporated and the dough forms a ball.

Remove dough from bowl and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Form into a firm disk. Chill for at least an hour or overnight.

Assembly

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Dust surface with flour and roll out Lemon Shortbread dough to an eighth-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, lightly press into the dough to create an indentation. This is your guide to determine where to place the edible flowers. Arrange flowers within each individual circle. Note that the flowers will shrink, so be sure to cover the surface with 5-8 small flowers/petals. Place a piece of wax paper on top and lightly press the flowers into the dough with a rolling pin. Remove wax paper and use the cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and flowers. You will most likely have to do this in several batches.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in the middle rack of your oven or until the edge of the cookies are a light brown. The edible flowers will have reduced significantly in size. In the meantime, mix the 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon lemon zest together to release the essential oils in the lemon zest. When cookies are baked, remove to cool on a rack. Sprinkle with lemon sugar and enjoy!