Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
When you are king, dilly dilly,
I shall be queen
Lavender hands down is my favourite herb, a herb I use everyday. A herb whose scent evokes childhood memories. Memories of long sunny summers playing in our family garden. Senses stirred every time I brush past them or accidentally bruise their foliage, releasing their strong essential oils. Lavender shakes me awake in the morning in my shower gel and gently sends me to a peaceful sleep at nighttime (a couple of drops of lavender oil on pillow each night and I’m out like a light). This recipe brings together lavender with another of my favourite things, shortbread. The lavender used in this recipe is from a few small plants we grow down 18a, English angustifolia’s suitable for culinary use, a Hidcote and a Munstead variety. Picked and dried a few weeks ago the seeds are perfect for using right now. The process of baking this shortbread recipe has to be the most chilled out baking experience with the rush of essential oils filling the kitchen. A perfect pick-me-up for a washed out gloomy afternoon in August.
Pestle and Mortar
2 x baking sheets and baking parchment
125g/4½oz Caster Sugar
1 Tablespoon of dried lavender flowers (pounded lightly in the pestle & mortar to release their essential oils)
350g/12oz Plain Flower
225g/8oz Unsalted Butter
1 Dessert spoon of granulated sugar for topping.
- Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- Place the sugar into food processor. Add the butter and cream together.
- Sift the flour into the mixture, add lavender seeds (reserve a pinch for sugar topping mix) and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Using floured hands, work the mixture together to form a smooth paste.
- Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently until the dough is smooth. Chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Roll the dough out to a 5mm/¼in thickness, and cut out biscuits using cutter (shape of your choice, heart-shaped looks cute). Place the biscuits onto the baking trays, and sprinkle with a little lavender sugar mix (made from the reserved lavender and granulated sugar pounded together in pestle & mortar).
- Leave to chill for a further 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/Gas 4.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Carefully place the biscuits onto a cooling rack, sprinkle with extra lavender sugar and set aside to cool completely.