I discovered last week that I have a slight addiction to lavender shortbread. A slight addiction being that I can demolish most of a packet in around 10 minutes. You really don't want to know the calory count of each biscuit. I thought I was pretty safe that this weird craving would be reserved for me - I mean my fussy boys would never eat these biscuits once they knew they had FLOWERS in them - and believe me, I was quick to emphasise that the purple speckles were FLOWERS. Wrong! They loved them as much as me *sighs with disappointment*.
I adore shortbread still warm from the oven. Freshly baked shortbread is just one of my absolute favourites. Whenever we go to anywhere with lovely little cafes (like National Trust venues) that sell fresh cakes and biscuits, I immediately make a beeline for the domed glass lidded cake stands in the middle and check out their shortbread offering, tailoring my meal to this little treat at the end. Although I love classic shortbread, the addition of lavender and lemon just adds a certain lift to the biscuit - it's just a hint of flavour - and the few people that have tried some of these home-baked biscuits said they were really moreish.
I posted a while back after my vain attempts to find dried lavender in shops that I could bake with. I struggled and so I decided that I'd grow my own lavender after this and my parents grow it in abundance in their garden. The lavender for these biscuits came from their crop and it is really lovely to be cooking with something you've grown yourself, even if it's only a small part of the overall bake.
This is a simple classic shortbread recipe. I like using rice flour in my shortbread as it gives an added crunch to the texture so this recipe uses a blend of plain flour and rice flour. The main thing to remember is not to overwork the dough. I also find that chilling the dough for 30 minutes or so (you don't want to leave it in the fridge for too long as it turns too hard and then you have to soften it again before using) really helps it keep shape before you roll it and use your cutters. I decided to use heart cutters as the biscuits I became so addicted to were heart-shaped but they would be great as any shape.
If you love shortbread as much as me, there's really nothing better than eating freshly baked. The dough can also be frozen (use your cutters to cut them into shapes and then freeze them at this point between layers of baking parchment) and defrost at room temperature for an hour. Super useful for any unexpected guests! You can also take this further and decorate them with royal icing although I like the simplicity of my biscuits so you can see the purple and yellow flecks throughout the biscuits. Or even change the flavour combinations like vanilla or orange.
Very happy I made enough to stash some in the freezer. They might just stay there until the summer holidays are over and school starts again. Party for one at my house!
Lavender & Lemon Shortbread Makes around 30 biscuits
- 250G SOFTENED BUTTER
- 100G GOLDEN CASTER SUGAR
- 250G PLAIN FLOUR
- 125G RICE FLOUR
- 2 TSP LAVENDER FLOWERS
- ZEST OF 1 LEMON
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl
- Add the lavender and lemon and mix until combined (I added mine after the flour but it would have been better the combine them before this addition)
- Sift the flour and cornfour into a separate bowl
- Add the flours in 3 additions, mixing the dough briefly each time
- Gently knead the dough until it's smooth but be careful not to over-work it
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough until it's around ½cm thick
- Stamp out your shapes with your chosen cutters - I used hearts but circle or fluted edged cutters would work well or anything you really fancy
- Place the biscuits on 2 baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving a little space between each biscuit as they will swell slightly
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sugar
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack