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Chocolate-Lavender Brownies

Chocolate Lavender Brownies (from The Lavender Cookbook, by Sharon Shipley with modifications as served at Lavender Hill Farm Open House)

2 teaspoon dried culinary English lavender

3 cups sugar

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon instant expresso powder or instant coffee powder

¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Place the lavender in a spice grinder (or mortar & pestle) with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Pulse until the lavender is finely ground.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add the four, cocoa, salt espresso or coffee powder, and the remaining sugar.  Mix well.

Place the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power for 1 minute at a time until melted.  Let cool for a few minutes.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter mixture.  Using a wooden spoon, mix until just combined. Stir in the nuts (if using).  Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.