Sunday, 28 April 2013

Lavender Shortbread Stars


When we heard that Sainsbury's would be stocking Lavender Sugar in their  Taste the Difference baking range, we knew immediately what recipe we'd be trying.  Sous Chef J adores the smell of lavender (it's a calming scent he uses when he is on a trip to London - more on that will be detailed on our sensory blog soon...) so when he saw some lavender shortbread on sale at the Allergy and Free From show last year, he was keen to try a piece.  He loved it.  So, that's the recipe we're going to try for ourselves.

We got a recipe off the BBC website and it turns out it's on their site as the Duchess of Cornwall tried some lavender shortbread at Grey Gables when she appeared on the Archers.

The ingredients are just 225g unsalted butter, 125g lavender sugar, 300g plain flour (we used Dove's Farm Gluten Free) and 50g ground rice (we used brown rice flour).

Having cubed the butter, we added it to a bowl which contained the sifted lavender sugar (this is done to preserve the flowers).  Once the butter was at room temperature, it was creamed with the sugar, using an electric hand mixer, until light and fluffy.

Next, the sifted flour was added to the creamed mix with the lavender flowers, and this was mixed with a wooden spoon.  Once a fine breadcrumb consistency was achieved, it was time to combine by hand until the dough started to come together and there was no mix left on the bowl's sides.

Placing the dough on some cling film, it was kneaded until smooth.  Then we rolled it into a sausage and halved it.  Half was put in a marked up plastic bag and placed in the freezer for use at a later date.  The remainder was flattened out and put in the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes.

Whilst the dough was chilling, the oven was heated to 180ºC and the baking sheets were lined with silicone paper.

Having chilled, the dough was removed from the fridge and rolled to about a 5mm thickness between two sheets of cling film - this works well and means no additional flour is needed to stop the mix sticking.

The star shapes were cut out and the biscuits placed on the baking sheets, sprinkled with a little more lavender sugar and put back in the fridge to chill for another 15 minutes.

Once fully chilled, the biscuits were placed in the preheated oven and cooked for 12-15 minutes depending on their size/thickness... until they were beginning to go golden at the edges.

Leaving the biscuits to cool for 5 minutes on the sheet, they were then fully cooled on a wire rack.

We served our 'taste tester' shortbread rounds with some vanilla ice... and very tasty they were too!  No wonder the Duchess of Cornwall liked the shortbread she 'tried' on the Archers.

We made all these with half the dough using the amount of ingredients in the recipe... but don't think they'll last long.

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