Enthused Lavender Shortbread Biscuits

I Heart Lavender and so do the bees.

Lavender looks like an allotment version of dreaming spires to me. It gives me and the bees repeated and delightful scented moments. The grey-green foliage is fine and tender with the flowers ranging in tones from light-blue to deep-blue and purple-blue. I have no idea as to their provenance, the plant labels well and truly lost to the rough and tumble of the allotment, except some vague memory of Hidcote Blue. The plants falling and tumbling over grass paths, I brush past them on my way to the greenhouse or down the path to survey the beans and salads. Crowded with summer activity of pollinators, I sit nearby, alternating between staring up at the sky or watching the bees and buzzies drinking their fill.

And every year I say I will pick a few flowers to make Lavender Sugar and every year I plan to make Lavender Shortbread.  And every year I forget. I remember too late when the lavender is well past it’s best date. It seems that in previous years all I wanted was to enjoy the lavender where it is and for what it is. So maybe the earth has stopped spinning on its axis? Or maybe I’ve just got my act together? Or maybe it’s because I now blog? But now I’ve made Lavender Shortbread, I know I will remember in time for next year.

I kept seeing recipes where lavender featured but most of them used dried lavender and I wasn’t about to go out and spend my hard-earned when I have so much of it freely available. Most recipes feature making lavender infused sugar. How hard can that be? Take a small clean dry jar, add sugar and add a teaspoon or so of dried lavender, put the lid on tightly and leave it to, well, infuse. At this point I keep wanting to write enthuse instead of infuse :) And now I have done so I’m sticking to it.

But some people around here are a bit impatient, don’t read instructions and think, ah a week or so will be MORE than enough. And I was definitely impatient, I’d been checking on the drying lavender and finally capitulated, it was now or never – either that or the brown paper bag where the lavender was drying would get forgotten about and found some time in the next millennia,  a scented but crumbling dust.

I’d made a batch of shortbread a month or so ago with a favourite recipe. I wanted shortbread to go with the fresh red currants. It didn’t turn out well, too thick, too bleurgh, somehow not right. The red currants were perfect though! You have to think light and airy with shortbread and this one wasn’t. Remedies were needed and the prescription was turning to an institution, to Delia Smith. I’m not sure she would appreciate being called an institution but to anyone growing up in the UK, that’s what she is.

I leafed through an old Delia book, a present from my mum when I left home to go to college. The delight of this book is not just that it covers all the basics, it does that amply, but that it originally came from a Manchester Library in fact it still has the Library label in the front page. My mum used to like going to the Library sales to see what she could pick up on the cheap. Sensible girl my old mum.

Delia reminded me to not overwork the butter, that only butter can be used, let it get to room temperature and use a wooden spoon to soften it. And continue to use a wooden spoon, no need for fancy mixers here – just a bowl, a wooden spoon and some arm work.

So here is Delia’s recipe - tried and tested. It has reminded me that I need to tread lightly, metaphorically speaking when making shortbread and not trample it in the rush to make it.

And as I was in one of those carefree and what the heck moods I didn’t bother looking up an exact recipe for Lavender Shortbread Biscuits, I just added the Lavender Enthused Sugar. I didn’t want to over power my shortbread on a first attempt. Reflections and much munching later tells me I should have Enthused my sugar for longer or added a little extra dried Lavender. Hindsight is marvellous isn’t it, that and a great excuse to make more !

A note on eating your shortbread ~

And when you have made the delightful Enthused Lavender Shortbread I suggest you consult with Sharyn and make yourself a proper cup of tea, not just any old cup of tea hastily made with a dry and dusty tea bag in a mug, no I mean PROPER TEA. Which reminds me of a great joke about Karl Marx saying ‘all proper-tea is theft’  :)

Enthused Lavender Shortbread Biscuits – adapted from Delia Smith

Ingredients ~

  • 110g butter (room temperature)
  • 50g caster sugar enthused with lavender flowers (you can use ordinary sugar too)
  • 175g plain flour
  • Extra sugar for dusting

Method ~

  • Pre heat the oven to  150C / gas Mark 2 / 300F
  • Beat the butter, with a wooden spoon to a soft consistency
  • Once the butter is softened add the sugar and mix it in
  • Now sift the flour into the bowl and start mixing it
  • The mix should start to form a lumpy dough, there will be bits of the mixture still in the bowl that are distinctly unattached. So at this point use your hands to bring it together into one piece of dough. try not to over-handle it.
  • Dust your work top with some sugar and place the dough on top. using a rolling pin quickly and lightly roll the dough out, sprinkling the rolling pin with more sugar if needed (generally it does need it) to about 3mm or 1/8 inch thick.
  • Use a cutter to cut out the shapes, carefully pick them up (I use a palette knife for this part) and place them on a lightly greased baking tray.
  • Bake on a high shelf for 30 minutes
  • Remove the biscuits from the oven and slide them onto a cooling rack – you can sprinkle more Enthused Lavender Sugar on at this point if you like.
About these ads

67 thoughts on “Enthused Lavender Shortbread Biscuits

    • I love seeing the lavender, such a beautiful plant. I got the buscuit cutters in Carefour in France, I’d planned on using them there but never got round to it, so I’m pleased I finally found an excuse to use them!

  1. now i wish our lavender was flowering, of course it will be, in summer! those lavender hearts look so delicious i am sure i will remember when the flowers are ready :) i use some of my lavender with small lentils to fill eyebags for my yoga students, so soothing and fragrant …. thank you claire, christine in cold australia x

    • Hi Christine, I love lavender scented eye bags for yoga – so relaxing, and they really help me with any kind of meditationand relaxation, so thanks for the reminder! And if I see any photos of lavender on your blog in winter (your summer) I’ll remind you ;)

      • Meant to add, the temperatures today and yesterday took a dip here, so it’ sbeen a bit chilly here! But hopefully there is mor ewarmthon the way – as longs as I have a blue sky I’m happy !

    • I’m imagining it ! The trouble is I have to avoid milk – to be honest all dairy is a problem but milk and cream are no-nos for me. Ao much so I treat myself to one ice cream a year !! Live to regret it – but thoroughly enjoy it. What a life!

    • I’m pleased I finally got round to it after years of saying I would, mostly for curiosity sake!
      And why not – it really only takes a few snips of lavender, you need so little to add an edge for flavour. I think it’s a case of less is more

  2. Your shortbread looks delicious! I haven’t had any luck growing lavender so far. Last year I tried to start it from seed and it never came up. This year I bought a plant but it hasn’t bloomed. I might just have to buy some dried lavender so I can make this shortbread!

    • Thank you Kate, we;ve done well to make the biscuits last a few days !
      I’ve always ‘cheated’ and bought small plug plants. a friend did grow some from seeds a few years ago, they were such teeny plants and really needed protection for a couple of years before they could be planted out properly. I do remember watering them really well when I first planted them and in their first year of life to try and establish them. Hope you get some flowers soon!!

  3. You are lucky! Our lavender plants have dried out! But I can make lavender infused sugar with it! I never thought of using it so I will give it a try! The recipe sounds fascinating! thanks for the tip!

  4. Wonderful! I use fresh lavender for biscuits and ice cream, but have never tried “enthusing” it! Maybe it’s not too late to cut some, although it’s pretty singed in the heat. You know, I think I had the same Delia book given me when I went to Polytechnic… I think it was a brown cover with a picture of her holding an egg… ;-)

    • Oh I’d enthuse about it :) And yes that is the book – the brown cover with an egg on it – when I can’t remember basics I turn to it, you know classic things, her recipes are so tried and tested they really do come good! It sounds like we both had a good start to cooking life :)

    • :) that would be the right starting point ! I admit to being a novice with using lavender, but curiosity got the better of me. I’ve seen references to lavender jelly and now with fellow bloggers to using it to flavour ice cream.

  5. I love the look of these cookies, Claire! Shortbread is a family favorite and it would be so much fun to make these and surprise everyone. I think most of my lavender is a little past its best time, but I also want to plant a few new varieties. You’ve shared a wealth of information in this post and I feel a new surge of enthusiasm. I relate to the procrastination of getting to some of the baking and cooking projects I really say I want to do…and at the moment, yes, I’m going to blame the blogging (not the person in control of how much time she spends on-line!) haha! If I don’t start getting my ingredients prepared there will be one more year that I don’t make the Christmas Pudding I was determined to make this year…time is running out! :-) Have a great weekend!! Debra

    • Oh yes, you do need to start preparing the pudding and cake! In fact you have reminded me of happy memories of towards the end of school holidays and again in the autumn half-term break my mum would start in on making the pudding and cake – all with good doses of alcohol!
      i hope you get to try the recipe Debra, if you love shortbread then I think you will love this one too :)

  6. I’m not a big fan of floral sweets (ie rose water, orange blossom) so I don’t know if I’d like the lavender lemonades, shortbreads, ice creams etc that I’ve been seeing lately.

    But I have ONE single growing lavender plant (~4″ tall) now surrounded by 7 weedy looking thyme plants all growing from seedlings in their own pot. I’m looking forward to the day there are flowers. :)

    Note to self: Post pictures.

    • I know what you ean about floral scents, I went very easy with the lavender flavouring as I din’t want to overpower it, just a hint and I’m happy.
      And yes please to photos of your lavender!!

    • I’m hearting you :) and thanks, I took the photos of the lavender a week or so ago and have been meaning to use them on the blog so as an excuse I made the biscuits! Any excuse around here will do !

  7. Hello. My name is ChgoJohn and I’m addicted to shortbread cookies.
    I just have no control when I know there are some around — and yours won’t make it any easier, Claire. I’ve planted lavender in one of the rose beds wouldn’t dream of using anything from it this year. There’s no telling what’s been sprayed on it prior to the adoption. My lavender sugar will have to wait a year. :)

    • Welcome to the 10 step programme John, w take 10 steps to reach the biscuit tin :)
      And how lovely to plant lavender with the roses, I’m sure once the plants settle in and everything is in bloom they will look gorgeous, and the scent – WOW !!

  8. Both your lavender and the cookies are so pretty! And like John, I am addicted to shortbread cookies. I’ve been thinking about making lavender shortbread for the longest (someone gave me dried cooking lavender), and now you’ve inspired me to make a move on it!

    • I think have have some very like minded blogger friends ! lovely company, but it does sound like I need to make a HUGE batch to be able to share them around here! an dI hope you get to try the recipe, I’ve seen lavender cupcakes as well – now they really are pretty to look at !

  9. Dear Claire, I remember all lavender flowers around the houses in UK, how beautiful they were… You made a wonderful post, as always. In my culture we don’t know lavender to use in the kitchen or cooking… I learn now. Sounds so nice… You inspired me too… Beautiful photographs… Thank you, love, nia

    • Hi Nia, lavender is such a popular plant here, so many different kinds but always all beautiful. and this is the first time I have used it in cooking – I always think of lavender scented bags to hang in cupboards or drawers, so it’s new to me too. and thank you for your kind words my friend !

  10. I am just discovering using lavender in sweets and have learned not to be over zealous in the amount I include in the recipe! The shortbread is very tempting, how can one resist the lure of butter and sugar? Or perhaps it is the aromatic and vivid sprinkles of delicate lavender; a refreshing and satisfying sweet!

  11. A friend just mentioned to me yesterday that she is already cutting back her lavender and looking for things to do with it, so I’m going to forward this post on to her, the enthused lavender biscuits look and sound divine and now I think I’ll go and make a cup of tea, pity there’s no shortbread to go with it yet!

    • My lavender has a while to go before it needs it’s annual haircut, in some ways it’s a sad job as it means the lavender is over, but the positive is that it’s a highly scented job! Hope your firend likes the recipe

  12. I’m not sure I like te idea of lavender as a flavour… I like the plants outside, especially when the sun is on them, but the scent of lavender in colognes or other products doesn’t appeal at all… but I’m kind of intrigued by the thought of it as a flavouring… hmmm, I must have a go I think, and your recipe will be my research!!!

    • I know what you mean – I sometimes think scents like lavender can be overpowering almost soapy. And to be honest the shortbread without the lavender is divine! I’m sure you will find something that suits your taste buds :)

  13. Beautiful – I’m testing a recipe for Rosemary and Honey shortbread this week. Lavender and honey would make a wonderful combination too! I love that you have bees buzzing around the lavender. Do you know the bee keeper? If so I’d ask for some of his honey – lavender honey is delicious.

  14. Over the past couple years I’ve found more and more delectable desserts (and some savory dishes too) utilizing lavender. I’m adding this to the must try, and must try soon! Sounds pretty darn perfect! (and unquestionably romantic!) :)

  15. Pingback: Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies « Art of Natural Living

  16. Pingback: Search engines, post titles, a washing machine and big banana conundrum | Promenade Plantings

  17. I remember visiting this post when you wrote it, and now I’m back again…first off your lavender pics are absolutely spectacular. Only nature can do purple so beautifully! wow.
    I clicked over to Delia’s and the shortbread tips are helpful. I’ve only made shortbread a few times in my life, with less than stellar results.. You’ve inspired me to give it another go..will let you know how it turns out. :)

  18. Pingback: Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies | Art of Natural Living

  19. Pingback: Plum and Lavender Jam | Rock Salt

Hi

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s