Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lavender shortbread

Back in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I made it fashionable to use lavender in cooking. Since those days it fell from favour for use in the kitchen (I'm not sure why, does anyone know?) but has made a resurgence in the last few years.

Make sure you only use the culinary English lavender ('augustifolia' varieties) for cooking.

100g butter, softened
80g caster sugar
1 tsp dried lavender flowers
1 cup plain white flour
1/2 tsp salt

In a bowl, beat together the butter, caster sugar and lavender flowers. I use an electric beater to do this.

Then add the flour and salt and beat slowly until crumb like. Press into dough with hands. Roll into a fat sausage shape and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Bake on unlined tray 160 deg C for about 15 ins.

Variation: add 1 tsp grated lemon rind to butter and sugar with the lavender flowers.
Instead of rolling into logs, you could roll out with a rolling pin and cut shapes, but this is of course more time consuming.

Note: This dough can be frozen for up to a month.

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