Recently an old friend of mine asked me to bake something for her book club event, held at Sutton House in Hackney.
We decided shortbread would be a good choice enjoyed by the fireside while sipping cocktails.
Shortbread is easy to make, store and transport so it was a clear choice to nibble on while chatting about the book.
It’s light, buttery and delicious and the two flavours add a refreshing subtle element to update the traditional recipe.
I went for two sets of shortbread, lavender and lemon and here’s how I made them…
200g plain flour
50g caster sugar, plus a little extra for decorating
125g unsalted butter, very cold
Zest of 1 lemon or 1 tsp dried lavender depending on what flavour you’re making
A pinch of salt
How to make…
Preheat the oven to 170C/190 fan/gas 3.
Mix together the flour and sugars.
Cut the butter into squares as soon as you take it out of the fridge (you don’t want it to get too warm). Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. If it gets too sticky and warm just pop it back in the fridge for a bit.
If you’re making lavender biscuits, put the dried lavender and a caster sugar in a food processor and blitz the two together for a few minutes,
If it’s lemon you’re doing, add the lemon zest and make sure it’s fully incorporated.
Then squidge the mixture together in your hands to make a round ball, wrap with cling film and put in the freezer for 20 minutes.
When the shortbread has had time to cool, get it out of the freezer and roll out to a thickness of about a £1 coin.
It will be crumbly but don’t despair, feel free to mould it together with your hands if it falls apart (you won’t notice this once it’s baked).
Cut rounds out until there’s no more shortbread left and pop onto a non stick baking tray (or on a baking tray covered with baking paper).
Cook for 10 minutes until slightly browned (keep an eye on them towards the end). Take out the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar, then return for 2 minutes.
Take the shortbread biscuits out of the oven and leave to cool before serving. Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar and zest (or lavender) and you’re all ready to dive in.