When I encountered Clotilde Dusoulier’s fantastic blog ‘Chocolate and Zucchini’ I was full of good ideas and fresh inspiration. The best thing about Clotilde’s blog is that in the simplicity of the recipes. You also have quality ingredients meaning maximum taste. I tried the shortbread recipe and this was an instant hit. We all need to have those baking favourites that we return to time and time again, adjusting the recipes each time and also experimenting with new ones. Shortbread is my all time favourite biscuit. Ever since I had the Scottish Highland variety (which was probably not authentic as such), shop-bought dipped in a glass of milk, I was hooked. Since then many different recipes have been tried and tested. My favourite before encountering Clotilde’s would have to be Delia Smiths’s Scottish shortbread that uses semolina and flour. I recently read that you could also use ground rice in replacement of semolina for a crunchy, almost sandlike texture. I made Clotilde’s recipe but adapted it slightly by using semolina and adding lavender. I constantly find myself drawn to all ingredients with all or any of the following: lavender, cardamom, edible gold leaf, lemon. Something about lavender shortbread reminds me of potpurri! it is almost very eighties and only became ‘fashionable’ within the culinary world recently. I look forward in rejoicing in the return of lavender to our kitchens.
150g unsalted butter (best quality European butter), softened
70g golden caster sugar (or vanilla caster sugar if you like)
150g refined spelt flour or white flour
1 teaspoon culinary lavender
Preheat the oven to 150C°.
Beat the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add the semolina and mix till combined. Add the flour and mix till just combined. Put the lavender in. Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds till smooth, then gather into a large ball and press the dough into the fluted pan. Using a fork, prick holes in the dough. Bake for 50 minutes until lightly golden or firm. Whilst still warm, make cuts in the shortbread so that it can be broken up. Cool on a rack and separate into pieces when cooled completely.