Over the last few months I have become engrossed in the world of herbs – for medicine, cosmetics and for cooking. My plan next year is to grow a larger variety of herbs at the allotment and I have enrolled on a couple of short courses on herbs for healing and the history of herbs.
With the weather turning a little grey this week I decided to make use of the lavender flower heads I collected and bake a buttery comforting biscuit, Lavender shortbread, perfect with a cup of tea. I have to confess I cannot remember where this recipe originates from, but it is the one I always use so I feel it is mine but it’s not! Makes from 15 to 20
100g of golden castor sugar (you can buy really fine fairtrade pale golden castor sugar)
225g of unsalted butter softened (you can use salted but leave out the pinch of salt)
225g plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 flat teaspoons of dried lavender flowers (you can also use rosemary or thyme leaves)
Cream together the butter and castor sugar with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles soft yellow ice cream. Sift in the flour and cornflour slowly and keep mixing with the wooden spoon. Finally add a pinch of salt and the lavender flowers. Mix until all combined and you have a smooth texture. You can lightly knead for a few minutes before rolling out or you can simply roll into a ball and then roll out to approx. 1cm thick (this shortbread is exceptionally buttery so I roll out quite thin). Once rolled out cut into fingers of varying widths and lengths, or whatever shape you want, and top with a few flower heads before placing in the fridge for about twenty to thirty minutes. Heat the oven to gas mark 3 and cook for about 20 minutes (when the sides begin to go golden I know the shortbread is ready). Leave to cool and enjoy. When storing in a container I add a teaspoon of lavender flower heads, the airtight container keeps in the smell and it is heavenly when you open the next day.