I wanted to bake something very simple this week; something completely non-seasonal. Shortbread biscuits are pretty much as basic as you can get, but every time I make them I remember just how addictive they are: slightly crisp, crumbly and deliciously buttery. I love the flavour of lavender so I decided to flavour the biscuits with that, but really this recipe is very easily customisable: you could scrape the seeds out of a vanilla pod and add them, use crushed cardamom seeds or add some ground cinnamon - the list of variations is endless.
Drizzling white chocolate over biscuits is such a fun task (to me anyway!) - I lay the biscuits out on a sheet of greaseproof paper and quickly drizzle long lines of the melted chocolate over the whole sheet. When the chocolate sets, you can scrape the excess off and either melt it down again, or eat it - I'm sure you can guess what I did!
Lavender and White Chocolate Shortbread
Makes about 36
I was disappointed that the lavender flavour didn't come through very strongly, so I've increased the quantity in recipe below from 2 tsp to 3 tsp, to give a slightly more pronounced taste of lavender.
200g caster sugar
3 tsp dried culinary lavender flowers
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g unsalted butter
400g plain flour
100g white chocolate, chopped
Chop the lavender flowers as finely as possible, or grind them in a pestle and mortar or spice mill.
Cream together the crushed lavender flowers, vanilla extract, butter and sugar, either in a food processor or stand mixer, or using by hand. Beat throughly until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
Stir in half the flour until fully combined, then mix in the remaining flour.
Roll the dough in to a cylinder shape, about 5 cm across. Wrap in cling film or foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (the dough can be left in the fridge for up to a few days before being cooked).
Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cut the cylinder into slices about 1cm thick and place them on a lined baking tray, leaving space between them to allow the biscuits to spread a little whilst in the oven. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
Remove from the oven and let the biscuits cool for about 5 minutes on the tray, then transfer them to a cooling rack.
Once the biscuits are cool, melt the white chocolate in the a heat-proof bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.
Pour into a piping bag and drizzle lines of melted white chocolate over the biscuits. Allow the chocolate to harden completely before transferring the biscuits to an air-tight container.