You'll love these lavender shortbread cookies.
These sophisticated shortbread cookies are a wonderful pairing of citrus and herbs.
You're likely familiar with the wonderful results that come from pairing citrus and herbs, but our guess is that you tend to reach for rosemary or mint when preparing a lemony summer treat. Up the ante this month and try a combination that's a little more unexpected, but just as powerful. Delicate lavender imbues desserts with a distinct floral note and flecks of pale purple, and when combined with lemon, the flavour is even stronger. These elegant shortbread cookies are a satisfying snack and the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea in the garden -- complete with big hats and sundresses, of course.
1 Cream the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the flour, sugar and salt; beat on low speed for 1 minute. Add the lavender, beating until just incorporated.
2 Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and roll to a 1⁄4" thickness. Cut out the cookies using a round cookie cutter and place 1" apart on a greased baking sheet.
3 Bake on the centre rack of a 300°F oven for 20 minutes; let cool.
4 Make the glaze by whisking the icing sugar and lemon juice together. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the glaze over each cookie, spreading to cover the whole surface. Let set for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
Makes: 36 cookies
DIY project: Paint chip wreath
Recipe: Chocolate pecan buttercream cake
Brown Sugar Buttercream
Directions for cake
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 Butter and lightly flour three 9-inch cake pans. Shake out excess flour. Line the bottom of the pans with circles of parchment paper.
3 In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and sugar. Mix on low speed until well combined.
4 Dissolve coffee in boiling water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Add coffee to dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined.
5 In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually mix into dry ingredients and beat just until smooth.
6 Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Directions for pecan meringue
1 Preheat oven to 225°F.
2 Trace two 8-¾-inch circles on a sheet of parchment paper, turn over, and place on a large baking sheet.
3 In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, chop pecans into very small pieces.
4 In a small bowl, combine chopped pecans and icing sugar. Mix with a fork to make sure there are no lumps. Set aside.
5 In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, start whisking egg whites on medium speed. Add cream of tartar and continue to whisk until frothy. Add 2 Tbsp of sugar. Increase speed to high and continue to whisk, gradually adding the remaining sugar. Continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, gradually fold in the pecan-sugar mixture. Divide evenly between the two parchment circles, smoothing out the surface of each meringue circle.
6 Bake in centre of preheated oven until crisp and dry, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely on baking sheet.
Directions for buttercream
1 In the clean bowl of stand mixer, combine sugar and egg whites. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continuously until sugar is melted and egg whites are warm to the touch. Remove from heat and place bowl on mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
2 Whisk at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the butter and vanilla and continue whipping until smooth and thick. Set aside.
Directions for syrup
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Directions for decoration
1 Line the back of a baking sheet with plastic wrap.
2 Using a spatula, spread white chocolate over sheet, then pour dark chocolate overtop. Using spatula, quickly swirl the two chocolates together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.
Directions for assemble cake
1 Place first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush with soaking syrup. Spread with a thin layer of buttercream (about 1/3 cup). Place the first layer of meringue on buttercream. Spread with a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat with cake, syrup, buttercream, meringue, buttercream, ending with a cake layer.
2 Using a sharp knife, trim the meringue layers if necessary to make the cake layers even. Ice entire cake with remaining buttercream. Using your spatula, make a spiral design on the top of the cake with the buttercream.
3 To decorate, break marbled chocolate into pieces the same height as the cake. Press gently into buttercream on sides of cake. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.
Budget-friendly home makeover ideas on any schedule
Liven up your living space with these easy decor updates that will take anywhere from a day to a week.
When it comes to remodelling a home, we often can’t help but dream big – because who doesn’t want a walk-in glass shower, marble backsplash and ample storage space? But before you let your design vision overwhelm you, allow it to inspire you to make tiny tweaks that still have a big impact.
Whether you’re tight on time or worried about stretching your budget too thin, we’ve compiled a list of affordable home makeover ideas that can be done on any schedule – from a day, to a weekend, to one week. It’s time to set your decor hesitations to the curb along with that outdated side table, and read on.
For an instant refresh, switch up a space’s furniture placement. Think seasonally: Make your fireplace the focal point in winter and reposition pieces in summer depending on how the light streams in. Don’t be afraid to think beyond a room itself either – that armchair in your living room might look even better in your home office.
Lend a bright new look to your home by displaying eye-catching accessories. Uplift your sofa with playfully patterned toss cushions or scope out a stylish area rug to add comfort and texture to your space.
Think of bookshelves as fanciful art displays that should be carefully curated. Spend a quiet Sunday afternoon arranging your paperbacks by colour or wrapping unsightly book covers in pretty paper. Showcase decorative objets and prints for extra visual appeal. See here for more shelf-styling tips and tricks.
Don’t have time to paint an entire room? Create an accent wall instead to achieve the same decorative punch. Paint the wall a vivid hue or select a graphic wallpaper pattern that demands to be seen. Learn how to design a show-stopping feature wall here.
Wake up tired furniture with a fresh coat of paint. Whether you want to refresh dated cabinets or revamp a dull dresser, new-and-improved furniture pieces will cheer up a room without breaking the bank. Find out how to make this DIY dresser makeover here.
While creating an accent wall can be completed in a day, devoting a weekend to the task affords you the opportunity to be more creative, and you’ll have time to update a few walls. Try your hand at colour blocking or brighten a bedroom with intricate stencils and wall decals like these ones. Urban Walls, $71.66, etsy.com.
You don’t have to rely on marble or glass mosaic backsplash tiles to achieve a timeless look in your kitchen (cue the sighs of relief). Instead, try self-adhesive wall tiles like Smart Tiles. The budget-friendly alternative is simple to install and will still give your space an effortlessly elegant feel. Mosaic Decorative Wall Tile Peel and Stick in Subway White, The Home Depot, $8.97.
Sometimes purging your pad can have just as dramatic an impact as redecorating it. Release yourself from constant clutter by editing every area in your home. Toss tattered items, corral products in stylish baskets and bins and opt for multi-functional furniture. Find 99 more easy organizing tips here.
First impressions are lasting, so spend a few days improving your home’s porch area. Start by painting the front door an energizing hue that suits the exterior (here’s how to choose a front door colour). To enhance the look further, dress up your porch with planters and replace your mailbox, doormat and number signs with more modern styles.
Bedeck your living room with a DIY gallery wall comprised of well-loved prints. Hang art pieces that range in size and shape for added dimension, and choose stylish frames (whether vintage or modern) that complement each other. Once all is said and done, you’ll earn some serious bragging rights. Follow our steps for creating a DIY gallery wall here.
Making a few slight changes to your kitchen and bath will have big payoff. Begin by trading in timeworn hardware for sleek knobs and pulls, and paint your kitchen cabinets if they’re looking a little worse for wear (here’s how). Give yourself time to update other fixtures too, such as the faucets and vanity mirror.
Enhance the look of your dining or family room by adding decorative moulding. It’s an architectural accent that will instantly uplift your space and lend it more character. Now is also the time to consider reupholstering old furniture (get inspired here) and revamping your floors, whether that means refinishing your hardwood (read: sand and stain) or installing new tiles.
Take your bedroom from boring to beautiful with a few creative upgrades. Get crafty by upholstering your own headboard, which creates an eye-catching focal point. For an even easier hack, use a bedsheet as the fabric like we did here. Boost your room’s comfort factor further by adding an area rug, buying new bedding and installing drapery.
Once the weather warms up, our attention quickly shifts to the outdoors. Make your yard more inviting this year with a gorgeous garden path or walkway (materials like natural stone, brick and concrete all work well). Don’t stop there. Take the time to paint your home’s exterior – or at least the trim! – as well as the fence. Other easy tasks include washing the windows, staining the deck and painting outdoor furniture.