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French Almond Cake with Lavender Lemon Glaze

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup blanched almonds
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Lavender Lemon Glaze:

2½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
Boil this together, let steep 5 min. and then cool.
Then stir in 1 cup powdered sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch square pan.

To blanch the almonds, pour boiling water over them to cover. Let them sit for about 5 minutes or until the peels slip off easily. Discard the peels and let the almonds air dry for a few hours. Grind the almonds with ¼ of the sugar.

Cream the butter and ½ cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until the mixture is pale and fluffy, another 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla, almond extract, and lemon zest and beat just until combined. Fold in the ground almond mixture. Beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl on medium high speed until foamy, then add the cream of tartar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Sift the cake flour and baking powder into a small bowl. Fold in ⅓ of the egg whites, then ⅓ of the flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining egg whites and flour. Be very careful not to over-stir. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake.

Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cake and the place top side up on a cake platter. Poke some small holes around the top of the cake with a toothpick to allow the glaze to fully absorb.

To make the glaze: Combine the lemon juice and lavender flours in a small saucepan or microwaveable dish, bring to a boil, remove and let steep for 5 minutes. Use a mesh sieve to remove the lavender flours. Pour the glaze over the cake and let the cake sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.


Lavender Scones

(You may remember back a few weeks Lavender was thought to be the herb in our shares.  I am happy to say that it will be in our shares this week!)

This week the shares will have the lavender plant!  Lavender is a favorite for many gardeners.  Some of you will just enjoy the lavender with the pretty flowers in your garden.  I think of some of the most beautiful gardens of England when I see lavender.   Lavender is a tender perennial.  It can be taken inside in the winter and in some cases it will live through the winter outside.  Lavender can be planted in the ground and it can do well planted in a pot.  Some of you will make use of lavender in cooking and some may find other uses such as drying lavender and making sachets that can be put to good use. The scent from lavender has been known to keep pests away when storing clothing.  It is a pretty scent to use in drawers; a sachet can be used near your pillow to help you relax and fall off to a restful sleep.  Lavender tea has been known to relieve a headache and imagine how refreshing lavender lemonade could be on a hot summer day.  There are recipes for baking with lavender —  scones, breads, cakes and shortbreads. Lavender is often paired with the flavor of lemon. A very important word to the wise is that less lavender is always better when cooking or baking. A little lavender will give just enough flavor too much will make you feel as though you are eating perfume!  When you are ready to harvest the lavender flowers choose those that look the most perfect.  They should have vibrant color and they should not be the slightest bit wilted. Pick the flowers as close as possible to the time of preparation or serving.  The best time to cut lavender flowers is in the morning before the heat of the day.

3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds (food grade lavender)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sanding or granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups of homemade or store-bought lemon curd


Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk 3 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter; rub in with your fingers or cut in using a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until shaggy dough forms.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until dough forms, about 5 turns. Pat into a 10×6″ rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2 triangles. Divide between baking sheets. Brush with 2 Tbsp. buttermilk. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Bake until scones are golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 13–15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon curd.

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