My gran (Nanny) has always used lavender toiletries, so the smell always reminds me of her. I moved from Essex to Scotland with my parents when I had just turned 9. My Nanny lived next door to us in Essex and my heart broke when we left her behind. She is your stereo-typical gran; round and cuddly with short white curled hair and a very sweet tooth. She always spoiled me rotten when I was wee, and to this day (I’m almost 22) she still sends me a hand-written note and monthly pocket money. I used to go to her flat every Saturday morning, where she would feed me sweets and let me watch as much TV as I wanted. If it was sunny we would take my dollies out and play in the park at the back of her building.
To say I miss her would be an understatement, Essex is a long way from Edinburgh! Knowing she is getting older makes my heart ache. She always tells people this story about me when I was little. We were walking to the shops one day and we must have been chatting about age (I can only have been about 5 years old but I have always been an old soul!). Anyway, the story goes that I turned to my Nanny and said “you’ll live ‘til you’re 90, Nanny!”. I’m sure at the time that seemed like a lifetime away. Nanny seems to have adopted this as prophecy; Amy said it so it must be true! She turns 90 in May and I now wish I had told her she would live forever.
I created this recipe for my Nanny. I usually bring her back some dried lavender in some form or other from Croatia in the summer. However, this year I just didn’t. I’m not sure why but on returning home I spotted my Mum’s lavender in full bloom. Perfect! I decided I would dry my own and the make some lavender shortbread to send down to Nanny.
The first recipe I tried used ground rice. I am not a fan of shortbread with ground rice, too crunchy and I always fear for my teeth. No, cornflour shortbread was the way forwards. Eventually I came up with the following recipe. I hope you like it, Nanny certainly does; she ate the whole box in one day last time I sent them to her! Below is a photo of us from last spring, my Dad was ready to take a nice shot and Nan cheekily reaches for her half pint, making me giggle!
Makes 18 5.5cm crinkle cut rounds (some of my images are off heart-shaped biscuits, I like to mix it up a bit!)
60g caster sugar
2 dried lavender heads (nothing that has been sprayed with bad stuff!)
110g unsalted butter (a wee bit soft)
110g plain flour
half a pinch of salt
some caster sugar and dried lavender flowers for sprinkling
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Blitz sugar and the lavender flowers (stripped from the stalks) in a food processor until the lavender is in very small shreds.
- Beat butter and sugar together (I do this in my mixer, I’m afraid I just don’t have the muscles!). Add flour, cornflour and salt and stir until mix looks like breadcrumbs.
- Use your hands to pull the mixture together and knead until it forms a dough. Wrap the dough up and stick it in the fridge for a wee while. About 30 minutes will suffice, any longer and it’s like trying to roll out a brick.
- Preheat oven at 170° fan/ 190° conventional/ Gas mark 5. Roll out the dough until about 5mm thick and cut out as many rounds as you can in the one go. Squish any remaining dough back together and re-roll and cut. If I am honest after one re-roll I tend to give up, there is only a wee bit left and my Mum always taught me to handle shortbread dough as little as possible once chilled.
- Put all rounds on the lined tray and pop into your oven for about 10 minutes, or until goldening. Whip them out, sprinkle with some caster sugar and leave to cool on the tray for a wee bit before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.
- Optional step, snap a pic and share with me on Instagram or Twitter using the tag #amysbakes 🙂 Enjoy!