With my lavender plant in full flower at the moment and something that I brush past every day when I walk up the garden which releases the gorgeous smell, it reminded me of these biscuits in the book. I didn’t want to make them from dried lavender, so I have been patiently awaiting the flowering of my lavender bush so I can bake them.
Yet another last in the book, this time the last recipe in the ‘Biscuits & Cookies’ section.
The first thing to do was to cut some lavender flowers. These were cut, washed and the flowers pulled off the stems and chopped up. Mary’s recipe calls for 2 level tbsp of fresh, unsprayed, finely chopped lavender leaves and flowers (or 1 tbsp dried flowers). I must admit I was a bit worried about using fresh lavender as the aroma is rather overpowering and when I measured the flowers, I did in fact only have a very heaped tablespoon full. This I decided would be enough. If the flavour of the lavender didn’t show through then I could always make them again using more lavender. I didn’t want to make them with too much and then decide that I didn’t like them!
Three baking trays were needed for this recipe, so they were lightly greased. There was no need to turn the oven on just yet as the biscuit mixture would need to chill in the fridge for half an hour once it had been made.
Into a bowl I measured out 175g unsalted butter. This was meant to be soft, but as we are still enjoying this warm weather, I knew it wouldn’t take too long for it to soften. Into this went the lavender flowers and using a wooden spoon the two ingredients were beaten together. This allows the maximum flavour to be released from the lavender.
Once the lavender had been combined and the butter was lovely and soft I added 100g caster sugar which was beaten in. The final ingredient to be added was 225g plain flour. This was stirred in and then I brought the mixture together with my hands and gently kneaded it until smooth.
The mixture was divided in half and each half was rolled into a sausage shape 15cm (6″) long. One last thing to do before it went into the fridge to cool was to coat the ‘sausages’ in 25g demerara sugar. I sprinkled the sugar over my pastry board and rolled each ‘sausage’ in it before wrapping them up in baking parchment. These were placed onto a plate and put into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.
The oven was put on to preheat at Fan 140°C.
Each ‘sausage’ was cut into 10 slices and put onto the baking trays, leaving a little room in between each one in order to let them spread. They were to be baked for 15-20 minutes. Mine actually took 25 minutes before the edges started to go a pale golden brown. Once removed from the oven they were put onto a cooling rack. They are a slightly unusual biscuit to look at, but they do look like the photo in the book! I think as they spread the demerara sugar that was put around the outside becomes the rim of the biscuit.
I must admit I was rather dubious about these biscuits. My husband was the first to pinch one whilst they were still cooling. He said the texture was lovely, more like a shortbread but the taste reminded him of lavender soap. I’m not quite sure when he’s ever smelt lavender soap as it’s not something that I would go out and buy! I did think the same when I picked up one to eat it, although I think it was the smell rather than the taste. The smell reminded me of the popular ‘Soap’ shop that you find in all the shopping outlets nowadays. I must admit I can’t stay in the shop long as it gives me an awful headache! Surprisingly I quite enjoyed the biscuit. You could taste the lavender and I think I added just the right amount. You could also taste the lovely buttery taste of the biscuit too. I don’t think I would add any more lavender if I made them again. I actually thought they were quite refreshing and rather a pleasant biscuit to have on a warm sunny day.