I haven't baked in ages while we were without a kitchen, so I decided that it was time to make something in our new oven. I perused my cookery books and wondered what it would be. It would have to be one of my regular, favourite cakes or biscuits. I considered a fruit loaf, a sponge, some madeleines, muffins or buns ... hmmm, maybe some cookies or flapjacks? In the end the choice turned out to be obvious, governed as always by the season. Rose or lavender shortbread. As you know, I love flowery things, and this extends to cooking with flowers too. The lavender is well and truly out now, and many of the roses have finished flowering. I would need to get my skates on, as my traditional annual bake was in danger of timing out.
I duly snipped myself a bunch of lavender ready for cooking with and drying, and stripped off the tiny flowers from a handful of stems.
Despite most of them being over, a few roses are still flowering well.
I picked some Mortimer Sackler blooms, a delicately-scented rose.
And also some flowers from William Shakespeare, which is has a lovely strong fragrance.
I washed the petals and took off the part where they join the stem,
then gathered together the ingredients,
and chopped the rose petals.
I creamed the butter and sugar and then divided it into two, adding the chopped petals to one half.
I then added half of the flour to this along with two teaspoonfuls of rose water, and mixed it into a dough.
Then I did the same with the lavender flowers, adding them to the other half of the creamed butter and sugar, followed by the rest of the flour.
I now had two equal quantities of dough, one rose and one lavender. I rolled it into little balls and flattened them on a greased baking tray, marking them with the back of a fork. I used to add a sprinkle of caster sugar to the tops of the biscuits, but I think they're already quite sweet enough so don't bother now.
Here they are after baking, rose on the left and lavender on the right. I can't make my mind up about which I like the best. They're both delicious.
I made them a few days ago, and already they've gone, scoffed by my family. Think I might have to make some more!
If you're interested in making them, here's my recipe which I adapted from this one. I usually make a double quantity.
Rose or Lavender Shortbread
100g caster sugar
300g plain flour
2 tsps rose water
large handful of rose petals
(for lavender shortbread omit the rose water and petals and use instead 2 large tbsps of lavender flowers)
1) Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, then mix in the rose water.
2) Wash the petals, removing the bitter white base, and chop into small pieces. Mix these into the creamed butter and sugar.
3) Add the flour and mix together to form a dough.
4) Chill for 30 mins in the fridge.
5) Either roll out to 1/2 cm thick and cut into shapes, or roll into walnut-sized balls and flatten.
6) Place on a greased baking tray and sprinkle with a little caster sugar (optional).
7) Bake at GM 4/180 C for about 20 mins until firm to the touch, but still pale in colour.
8) Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy them with a cup of tea!