A Lavender Themed Gift Basket is not only a unique and tasty gift idea for your mom this Mother’s Day, it can also be used for birthdays, housewarmings, retirements, thank you’s or any moment in life that deserves celebrating. My mom loves shortbread, so shortbread sprinkled with Lavender buds should really pique her interest!!!!
As the years ramble by, I reflect more and more on the love and generosity my parents have always shown to us kids. Their care and concern extend far beyond the years that we shared within the safe confines of our childhood home and this love remains steadfast today. Mother’s Day is a time of reflection for me…and gratitude, of course. As mamas go…I KNOW I have it good…the best! I always try to find the perfect words to write or speak that will convey this to her. For me, they always fall short. Suffice it to say…although I am grown and now a mother myself, my mom will always be THE MAMA BEAR. We all know it…it’s all good. So I celebrate her today and every day…for being loving, strong, compassionate, smart, tough, funny, blunt and beautiful.
If your mom is like mine, she already has EVERYTHING! Not just a little bit of everything but a lot of everything! So for many of us, finding the perfect token of our love and appreciation is not easy! A Lavender Gift Basket is thoughtful and handmade (which she will love!)…even if you sneak and buy the cookies from a local bakery, a Lavender Themed Gift Basket is an unexpected treat!!! My basket includes a potted Lavender Plant and homemade Lavender Shortbread cookies, but you could also take the theme further and include a Lavender Bath Bar or Body Scrub. I love everything about this…and so will she!
The gift basket starts with none other than the basket! You probably have one hiding in a closet right now that needs to be put to good use. I liked how this one was lined with a linen cloth and outfitted with a chalkboard tag. The fragrant and beautiful lavender is a potted plant I bought from my neighborhood grocery (Publix for me…but all big grocery stores seem to carry them). Next, Lavender Shortbread gets lovingly stacked into a cone that I made out of brown kraft paper, then wrapped again in cellophane and finished with a pretty ribbon. A personal sticker lets the recipient know what kind of treat they are receiving! (Let’s face it, you don’t see Lavender Shortbread every day!) For those that love this idea but have no time to bake shortbread, I have learned that The Nashville Cookie Bar bakes Lavender and Lemon Shortbread Cookies and I’m sure they would love to oblige. You will find their website here.
The homemade Lavender Shortbread I baked is from a recipe found in a favorite cookbook that my mom gave to me. Check out the following inscription. It came on a random March day (no holiday involved…So my mom) with the following super sweet message…
To My Darling Daughter Sabrina ~ Given to you by your mama on 3 – 14- 12. May the sweetest lady in the world bring deliciousness to all who surround her table for the delectable treats she will create from this fabulous book. If you do’t send some lavender shortbread my way, I must take this book back. Much love to one who I love so very much. Your Mom…Mama
If that’s not a hint…I don’t know what is!!! Now…to be completely honest…I’ve never made these cookies for my mom! I gasp just thinking about the travesty! The cookies and gift basket shown in these photographs went to a dear friend on her birthday. So I have some splainin’ to do. However, I can vouch for the deliciousness of these lavender shortbread cookies as the unique and most unexpected addition of the lavender is a perfect pairing with a cup of hot coffee or tea. A cookie with floral notes? Yes and yes!!!
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temp
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender (I bought mine from William-Sonoma)
- About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for dusting (I love using the white decorating sugar, also from William-Sonoma)
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Turn the speed down to low, add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour in thirds, beating until just incorporated. Sprinkle in the lavender and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
- Take out paddle attachment and finish by mixing by hand to insure that the dough is thoroughly mixed. The lavender should be evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Use a small ice cream scoop to form the cookies, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies to allow for spreading.
- Flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand or a cookie stamp dusted with granulated sugar. Dust the tops of cookies with sugar. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours, before baking.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 – 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the edges are lightly golden. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Variation: Lemon Shortbread: Substitute the grated zest of a 2 lemons for the lavender and 2 teaspoons extract for the vanilla extract.
Recipe courtesy of “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook” by Cheryl and Griffith Day, Published by Artisan.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mama’s out there!!!!! You are special every day of the year!!!!