If you’re yearning for a little summer this winter, or looking for some special Valentine’s Day treats to bake, a pot of herbal tea and this easy homemade biscotti with a touch of dried lavender saved from the garden might do the trick. For me, flavors have the ability to bring back memories more vividly than almost anything else―even pictures. Below please find my first ever attempt at French pastry making (which was deemed quite lovely by my happy taste-testers), and a few photos from that warmer season which inspired me to bake it. Biting into them was almost like sitting on the porch in August, smelling daisies and lavender growing in the fields and watching the late summer sunset. Delicious.
Lavender Rosemary Biscotti with Honey
This recipe is inspired by the amazing book ‘Pie in the Sky‘ by Susan G. Purdy, with my own alterations to the basic recipe.
2 1/2 cups flour (1/2 cup more as needed at high altitude)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (reduce by 1/2 teaspoon at high altitude)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (2 teaspoons at high altitude)
1 tablespoon crumbled lavender
2 teaspoons crumbled rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nuts. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar, beat in honey and the eggs. Add vanilla extract, lavender, rosemary, and lemon juice. Add the flour mixture, beat well, and mix in a little more flour as needed during shaping.
Gather the dough into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. If the dough feels sticky, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time up to 4 more tablespoons. You may need to chill the dough until firm. Divide the dough in half and shape gently into a log 13 inches long, 1 inch high, and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
The first bake, as loaves
And the second bake, as slices
Sea level, bake at 325 for 30 minutes and 275 for 15-20 minutes. High altitude, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes and 325 for 15-18 minutes.
Bake the loaves until dry and firm, for the first time and temperature indicated, until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Turn down the oven temperature as indicated. Transfer each loaf to a cutting board and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
With a serrated knife, slice the still-warm loaves into diagonal 1/2 inch pieces. Place the slices cut side down on the same cookie sheet (don’t re-grease). Bake at the second time and temperature indicated, until the slices feel crisp and dry to the touch. The longer they slices bake this round the harder they will be, so check often to avoid making jawbreakers!
Cool on a rack and store the cooled biscotti in an airtight container.
New Mexico in lavender harvest season
Our porch in late summer, where we watch the sunset and smell the lavender
. . .
I recommend enjoying with some hot chamomile or peppermint tea, or berry or coconut sorbet!
Photos by Kristin Carlson