Would you like to come over for tea and lemon-violet shortbread cookies?
Guys, I am not fancy. You can put me in a designer gown and put some foreign-named beverage in my hand, but I will most likely slop it down my front by accident. Likewise, if I try to make my food look sophisticated it usually ends up looking like a group of elementary students made it for a class project.
That being said, these lemon-violet shortbread cookies look fancy. There’s something about delicate little violets pressed into the cookies that just makes you feel like you want to drink your tea with your pinky up. Either that, or you suddenly feel so wild and free that you’ll want to go live in the fields with the faeries. There’s that too.
Regardless of whether you feel a little more prim or a little more untamed after eating these lemon-violet shortbread cookies, rest assured they are delectable and pretty simple to make.
How to Forage for Violets
I got my violets from my yard. In the spring in Pennsylvania, these little beauties are everywhere that hasn’t been mowed or sprayed. They are easy to find and identify.
Here are the main identifying features of violets:
- Purple or blue-ish flowers are most common, though they can sometimes be yellow or white.
- The flowers have curved petals (usually 5 of them), and they come outward from the center stem with a bit of a white “face” in the center.
- The leaves are heart-shaped and curl up a bit around the edges.
Here’s more information on foraging for wild violets.
NOTE: if you are new to foraging for wild edibles, please read this post on three simple foraging rules to make sure that you are harvesting safely and responsibly.
For this recipe, we will only be picking the flowers themselves, not the stems. The leaves are also edible, though I tend to reserve them for more savory dishes.
Not only do violets look beautiful, they also taste yummy and are rich in vitamin A & C!
Lemon-Violet Shortbread Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Zest of one lemon
- About 1 cup of wild violet flowers (more or less is fine), rinsed under cold water.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Cut butter into flour mixture with two knives, forks, or a pastry cutter until dough looks like coarse sand. If you prefer, you can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed for a couple of minutes to achieve the same result.
- Sprinkle in vanilla and 3 tablespoons of milk and gently press dough together with a spatula.
- Continue to press and gently knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together into a slightly sticky ball. Alternatively, use the paddle attachment on your mixer at low speed until dough comes together. If the dough is still slightly dry, add 1 more tablespoon of milk.
- Split dough in half into two flat rounds. Lightly flour the dough rounds and 2 cookie sheets. Roll out dough into a 1/4″ thickness.
- Sprinkle lemon zest evenly over the two rounds of dough.
- Sprinkle violets evenly over the two rounds of dough and gently press them with your fingers to help them stick.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until dough is just starting to brown up around the edges.
- Use a pizza cutter to cut the baked cookie dough rounds into squares- or whatever rustic looking shape you like.
Lemon-Violet shortbread cookies is a non-threatening recipe for the foraging newbie, and a delightful treat for the weed-eating professional. I hope you find them as delectable as we did!
If you give this recipe a try, please leave a comment and let me know how it came it out- it helps me to improve the recipe for the future!
You may also enjoy Violet Jam and a Recipe Round Up!