Photos by Crystal Murray
Good things come to those who wait”, so the old adage goes.
During the summer months, while racing on the world rowing scene, we spent most of our time in and around Europe. During our travels, there were so many moments where I found myself in awe of the natural beauty of my surroundings. I have a real appreciation for landscapes, in particular, views from mountain tops, wavy sea grass and sand dunes, fields of sunflowers. All are equally spectacular to me, but there are a few stand outs that I will never forget.
Over the past several years I’ve been trying to cultivate my appreciation of beauty in our garden. I started this garden journey as a complete novice, with the goal to create a garden that is always in bloom. Planting the right mix of annuals and perennials helps attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, while delighting our own senses throughout the seasons. Each year, I’ve been planting and learning and planting some more. As if by magic, this past summer, I feel like the fruits of my labours have finally paid off.
This realization came to me as I sat quietly on my Adirondack chair simply observing my surroundings. The whiz and whirl of the birds and the bees, the pops of colour with the wildflowers, and the heavenly smell of luscious lavender wafting through the air left me with the feeling like I was having my own Monet moment. I closed my eyes, and I was transported back in time to one of my stand out moments of awe. Lavender. In the south of France, I remember the first time I saw rows upon rows of those beautiful purple blossoms, and the air was drenched with the sweet fragrance that makers have been capturing for centuries. As I opened my eyes and came back to the present, I was inspired to use the lavender that had finally come into its own in our little cottage garden.
Lavender has many culinary uses, and the internet is a never-ending source of inspiration, but at our house with two little girls, I knew it would take a family favourite to ensure that lavender could make its way into a recipe that they would actually try. So, we landed on chocolate chip cookies. We started with our tried, tested, and true chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe from From Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen: 100 of my favourite easy recipes and we made it our own by adding Maldon sea salt flakes and lavender buds. The result was a beautiful soft cookie, with subtle citrus flavours, and a delightful salty pop (which I must say took the recipe to a whole new level). The cookies were a hit. The batch was gone in less than six hours. It is an absolute must to try these goodies while they are warm, either with a cold glass of milk or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Chewy Sea Salt and Lavender Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ cup (125 ml) butter, at room temperature
2 cups (500 ml) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
1 ½ cup (375 ml) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) fine salt
2 cups (500ml) dark chocolate chips
2 teaspoons (10 ml) dried lavender buds
½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes (to garnish)
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat butter with sugar until smooth and creamy, ideally, you’d use an electric mixer, but can be done by hand. Whisk in the egg and vanilla until everything is well combined.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, fine salt) and gradually add this to the butter bowl, beating until just combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and lavender buds with your hands or a spoon.
- Scoop out a ball of dough, roll briefly with your hands into an even ball, place on the cookie sheet and flatten the ball slightly. Repeat, leaving 3 or 4 inches (8-10 cm) between the balls. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt before baking. Bake for exactly 12 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet until they are firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to cool.