Serve these lemon-lavender shortbread cookies as an elegant tea time treat. Toile print wafer decors turn them into edible works of art.
Guess who appreciates a pretty toile print on just about anything? My mom. I’ve been thinking about what to make in honor of Mother’s Day, and when I came across toile-printed wafer paper -well. It was a done deal. Toile print fabric harks back to 1760’s-1800’s and often depicts people in French pastoral settings. I thought this one was especially nice for Mother’s Day because it shows women tending their children, having tea, and even washing up some laundry. Ah, some things never change!
There was no doubt about it – this shortbread had to taste as beautiful as its decoration looks. I added the zest of a whole lemon and fragrant culinary lavender to my favorite shortbread recipe. Shortbread is so simple with few ingredients, so the dough mixes up really quickly. The lemon and lavender flavors are absolutely beautiful together. I just love a floral note for spring.
If you’ve never used wafer paper, then now’s the time! It’s tasteless and melds with buttercream, royal icing, fondant, or modeling chocolate. The toile wafer paper is printed with large and small vignettes. Larger cookies, made with a 3″ cutter as I’ve used here, will accommodate a large vignette – like those ladies lunching above. Use smaller cutters for smaller images.
The colors of the paper really pop on a white background. So I recommend using white sculpting chocolate as a base because it rolls out smoothly like fondant and tastes great! White chocolate Fondarific is the stuff to get. Stamp it out with the same cookie cutter you used for the shortbread. If you’re not into storing a tub of modeling chocolate, then you could also use royal icing. Check out this blog post for using royal icing and wafer paper together.
Frame your (cookie) art.
Piping gel is ideal for attaching the image to the cookie. I often recommend corn syrup as an alternative, but it doesn’t have the starches that gives piping gel its stickiness. Stick to piping gel (ha!). Fondx is my fave.
I lined the edges of the cookies with sugar pearls, and because I didn’t want to add them one by one using tweezers – I cheated. If you brush the edges with piping gel and dip them in the pearls, a bunch randomly stick to the edges. Use a toothpick to line them up and scoot off the extras.
I don’t think I’ve ever made shortbread ‘sandwiches’ until now! In order to balance the barely sweet shortbread I made some lemon cream to fill them. This makes each sandwich is a formidable dessert. Just one packaged up in a cellophane bag and tied with ribbon would make a beautiful gift!
Pretty and tasty – so perfect for mom, or any time you need a special treat. I think these would make pretty wedding favors. You could use any printed wafer paper appropriate for your party. It’s like wallpaper for desserts!
These cookies are delish, whether or not you decide to decorate them with toile print. The recipe is simple and the classic flavors of lemon and lavender together in shortbread just can’t be beat for a spring treat.
I’m leaving the link for the toile paper again, right here. You may want to explore some other designs, too!
Toile Print Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookies
soft art brush
food color marker
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- Milk or cream to thin
Wafer paper décor
- 12 oz. white sculpting chocolate kneaded
- Piping gel
- 1 sheet toile print wafer paper
- Food color marker
- 1 cup sugar pearls
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, 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.
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.