Serve these lemon-lavender shortbread cookies as an elegant tea time treat. Toile print wafer decors turn them into edible works of art. This recipe makes about twelve 3-inch cookies, or 6 cookie sandwiches. If using large and small cookie cutters, the yield may be higher.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, lemon zest, lavender, and confectioners’ sugar. Mix until creamy. Add in the flour and salt. Mixture will be crumbly at first, keep mixing until a thick non-sticky dough is achieved.
Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to the refrigerator. Stamp shapes out of the chilled dough using a 3 inch square cookie cutter and place on the baking sheets. Bake for 15- 20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip. Beat on low speed then increase is ingredients are incorporated. Mixture will be crumbly at first. Add lemon juice and extract. Add milk or cream 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture comes to spreading consistency. Cover bowl with a damp towel until ready for use.
Wafer paper decors
On a confectioners’ sugar-dusted work surface, roll out the sculpting chocolate. Stamp shapes from the piece using the same cookie cutter used for the shortbread. Using a small art brush, dab a few dots of piping gel on the backs of the pieces and attach to the shortbread cookies.
Lay the wafer paper on a clean, dry surface. Use the same cookie cutter to trace shapes from the piece of toile paper using the food color marker, centering the cutter on a vignette. Cut out 6 pieces. Trim the edges further if needed to perfectly fit onto the sculpting chocolate squares. Turn the wafer paper over and coat it with piping gel. Affix to the white chocolate square. Immediately turn the cookie over so the wafer paper is flat against the work surface. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let stand until set, about 1 hour.
Turn cookies over and brush a thin line of piping gel around the top edges of the cookies (on the wafer paper square). Dip edges in sugar pearls immediately after brushing (work with 1 at a time). Use a toothpick to line up the pearls single-file, around the top edge of the cookies. Push extras off of the sides using the toothpick. Let stand until set.
Pipe or spread lemon cream onto the plain shortbread cookies and top with a decorated cookie. Do not refrigerate. Store cookies at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap or packaged in cellophane bags.
If you make different sizes of cookies as I did, you may have slightly higher yield. Bake all large cookies on one pan, bake the smaller ones on another to promote even baking. Bake smaller cookies for less time, 12 minutes approximate.Water is the enemy of wafer paper. Make sure all surfaces and hands are try before touching. If piping gel seems thick, put a little in a cup and microwave for 5 seconds to loosen. This helps the brush to glide across the backs of the wafer paper for even coating.Do not refrigerate the decorated cookies.