The lavender in the garden is pretty much disappearing now as the weather cools but when it was abundant I plucked a little handful to make some subtle lavender butter biscuits drizzled with tooth-cracking caramel. I love the smell of lavender. My housemate recently returned from the South of France with a bundle of dried lavender for my chest of drawers. Every time I open a drawer I am delightfully surprised by the waft of its summery scent.
However, these perfumey smells aren’t popular with everyone when it comes to food. I once won a work baking competition with my rose and chocolate cake but then made it at another workplace charity bake sale (smugly thinking of all the compliments I would receive for it!) only to sell 4 slices (all to the same person as well!) which promptly bashed me down to earth and left my baking skills hiding behind a door, shoulders hunched, eyes blinking, thinking how they must improve themselves. I asked my desk mates why they hadn’t opted to buy a slice of my cake and the response was along the lines of “Rose in food?! Only in soap thanks!” There we go. It’s a little bit how I feel about some Earl Grey teas- I would rather dab them on my neck.
So, to the recipe. The biscuits are very easy and the caramel is straight forward but you do need to keep a hawk eye on it to make sure it doesn’t turn from glorious deep golden to burnt umber. You can see a few sprinkles of sugar left on my caramel in the photos as I was indeed a little nervous at letting the caramel burn so whipped it off the heat and poured it onto the biscuits.
What you need:
130g butter (soft, at room temperature)
80g sugar consisting of 50g brown and 30g caster
150g plain flour
40g caster sugar for the caramel
About 20 fresh lavender flowers
What you need to do:
1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and heat the oven to 180C.
2. Put the butter and sugars in a bowl and blend together well with a fork.
3. Then blend the flour in.
4. Take 6 of the lavender flowers and break them up with your fingers over the mixture. Then use your fingers to work them in.
5. Take the ball of dough and break it into 2. Roll out a ball with a rolling pin, then cut it into rectangles about 5cm by 4cm. Repeat with the other ball of dough, then place the rectangles on the baking tray.
6. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Make sure they only turn lightly golden around the edges.
7. Remove the biscuits and allow to cool.
8. Now for the caramel. Pour the caster sugar evenly into a heavy bottomed pan. Place it on the hob and turn the heat to medium. Don’t stir the sugar, just leave it and watch it liquify. Once it turns a golden brown and is all or almost all liquid, take it off the heat.
9. Pour the caramel over the biscuits quickly as it will solidify in a flash. Then scatter the remaining lavender flowers over the top.
As the pictures show the hardened caramel will connect the biscuits together so it’s quite fun to keep them like that and snap them apart as you eat them.