Yet more rain and wind at the weekend so I thought I’d do some more baking. I made lavender sugar a few months ago and Saturday seemed the day to use it. I made a batch of assorted biscuits, using a tried and tested recipe for ginger biscuits, but using the lavender sugar instead of ordinary sugar and skipping the ginger. They sort or worked. The trouble was that this recipe uses honey and the honey masked the lavender so you couldn’t taste it. Also I cooked them for too long and they were in serious danger of breaking our teeth. The secret, we discovered, was to dunk them in tea or coffee first, obscuring the lavender flavour even further, but tasting rather good.
Oh well,back to the drawing board and another attempt, this time using an ancient recipe from one of my favourite recipe books.
Edinburgh College of Domestic Science (1932)The Edinburgh Book of Plain cookery Recipes, Nelson.
This book belonged to my grandmother. It was first published in 1875 and then in this ‘new edition’ in 1932 and shows its age in more ways than one but it has basic recipes for almost anything you might want to make, especially old-fashioned classic British things like cakes and pies, jams and puddings. It has a lot of meat based dishes which I don’t use, being vegetarian but, surprising for its day, it also has an entire chapter of vegetarian dishes. Anyway I thought I’d use the ‘Scotch shortbread’ recipe, using the lavender sugar.
- 4oz flour
- 2oz rice flour (or I used cornflour)
- 4oz butter
- 2oz sugar (lavender sugar in this case)
- a handful of fresh lavender flowers
Sieve the flour
Mix together with the sugar and butter until the consistency of pastry
Form into a round and roll out
Cut into shapes using your favourite cutters (we’ve collected many wierd and wonderful shapes over the years – just adapt to the season)
Sprinkle fresh lavender flowers on the biscuits before baking
Bake in a moderate oven until beginning to colour (don’t bake for too long or you’ll end up with the tooth breakers)
On the same page, I saw a recipe for ‘oatmeal biscuits’ so thought I’d make some of these too, but with added rosemary. These were the best:
Oatmeal and rosemary Christmas biscuits
- 3oz flour
- 4oz oatmeal
- 3oz butter
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
- a little salt
Rub the butter into the flour
Mix in all the dry ingredients
Add the beaten egg and a little water if necessary to form a stiff paste
Roll out thinly
Cut into biscuit shapes using your favourite festive or otherwise cutters
Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes
The authors of Plain Cookery Recipes would be horrified at all these fancy herbs and flowers in their sensible biscuits but that’s what recipe books are for – changing things around and adding stuff from the garden.
PS – I did all this at the weekend and have just got round to writing up the blog – the biscuits are all eaten and no teeth broken so far. I’ll need to make some more now.