18 Jul 2015

Biscuits, bees and lavender



Shall we just pretend for a moment that the grey skies of the past week haven't happened?  It's not been very summery over the last week although, once outdoors, I've been surprised how humid it feels despite grey skies and drizzling rain. But enough of all that.  Let's pretend that it's a glorious warm and mellow summer's day - a perfect day for relaxing in the garden with some iced lemonade and homemade biscuits, listening to the bees busily collecting nectar from the nearby lavender bushes. Hmmm.  Biscuits + Lavender. Now there's a thought.

Lavender is definitely the top summer plant in my garden for attracting bees, the bushes are in constant motion with bees landing and taking off again from the flowers.  But they're not just a pretty face - there's a lot more that lavender is good for. The dried leaves and flowers can be mixed with rice to make aromatic microwave-able handwarmers; fabric pouches filled with lavender flowers can scent clothes or be tucked under a pillow for good night's sleep; the oil is soothing, calming and healing; lavender spikes make lovely cut flowers (cut when half to one-third of the flowers are open and cut above a pair of leaves) and, of course, the flowers are edible.

I came across this recipe while skimming through a Mary Berry book due for return to the library: Lavender biscuits, how intriguing.  And there's something so dependable about Mary Berry that I instinctively trust her recipes.  This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of fresh lavender flowers and/or leaves.  Ever one to expand my repertoire of what to do with edible flowers, I decided to make a batch for the blog.

First task was to gather flowers and photos. This part of making the biccies took a while; I'm easily distracted from the task in hand when watching bees and hoverflies and came back with many photos, mostly of blurred bees.




Back indoors, I'd left the butter to soften and already weighed out the other ingredients so it was just a case of stripping the stems, finely chopping the flowers and putting it all together which took hardly any time at all.  Don't waste the stems - when used as skewers for grilling meats they'll add subtle flavour and can also be used to gently fragrance the dying embers of the barbecue or winter fire.

The biscuits are baked on two trays but, instead, I used one tray twice.  Just as well, as I thought the first batch (lavender only) tasted a bit 'soapy'. I added a grating of lemon zest to the second batch which made a much better and very tasty biscuit.  Of course, that could just be me.  I recommend you try them.  Even without lavender, the biscuits are a lovely open 'shortbread' texture and keep well in an airtight jar.  Oh, and don't skimp on the Demerara sugar - it gives a lovely sweet crunch to the biscuit.

Recipe here on my Google drive - download for printing, if you wish.

26 comments:

  1. I love Lavender as an ornamental plant - as you say, hugely attractive to bees - but I'm not so fond of it as a culinary ingredient.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try them with other ingredients, Mark - they're lovely with panna cotta. Also, I've found that the flavour has mellowed since being stored. The biscuits are actually rather nice now and not overpowering in flavour. I've got my eye on some lavender and honey bread which I thought I'd have a go at next …. :o)

      Delete
  2. The lavender is beautiful at the moment, We must have had better weather than you last week and we really need some rain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we've had heavier rain overnight but daytime rain has been that drizzly sort that does nothing for the garden. Hope you get some rain soon, Sue, otherwise it's hard work keeping everything going - especially courgettes and other thirsty plants.

      Delete
  3. I'm not sure I'd like lavender biscuits but I have some chocolate mint and wonder if that would be good in cakes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never cooked with flavoured mints, Esther, but have used them in flavouring syrups. I tried lemon scented geranium leaves in cakes and found it quite hard to taste the difference. (You place the leaves at the bottom of the pan before pouring in the cake mix, then remove the leaves once the cake is cooling.) I'd say give it a go and see what you think!

      Delete
  4. Lavender is wonderful isn't it, I must give the shortbread a go, they sound especially good with lemon. I love the smell, and I love seeing the bees as well. I've got some new young plants coming on in a pot, hopefully there'll be a few flowers soon. I know what you mean about the rain, it really hasn't soaked anything properly at all has it. Have a good weekend Caro. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did really well with my lavender last year - a few pots from Waitrose (2 for a fiver) that were 6 inch mounds when bought - have done wonderfully well and are now huge. I think I just put them in the right place, they like plenty of sunshine. Hope you like the biscuits when made - I really liked them but am thinking of chocolate chips for my next batch as my son isn't keen on lavender! x

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ian - compliment much appreciated, especially as I know your honing your photographer's eye! x

      Delete
  6. That looks and sounds yummy Caro. It also sounds like the yellow zest is a good way to balance the often too strong a flavour of lavender on baked products, making it taste soapy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was indeed yummy, guys. The weird thing was that when stored for a few days, the taste of lavender mellowed and became quite delicious. I might have to try lavender bread next!

      Delete
  7. Mmmmm! Lavender is a most attractive and useful herb Caro. A speaker visited our garden club several years ago to talk on the subject of lavender. She bought various lavender related items with her including some biscuits for us to try which were rather yummy. Recipe handouts were available but mine disappeared before I got the chance to try it out. I've also eaten lavender ice cream which was most pleasant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I quite fancy the idea of lavender ice cream, Anna. Your comment reminds me of those garlic festivals where everything, including ice cream, has garlic in it! I wonder if there's a lavender festival along the same lines! Hope you get a chance to try these biscuits - at least you know where to find the recipe now!

      Delete
  8. I'd like lavender biscuits, I adore violet & rose creams so I might dry some of my lavender ready for when I get my kitchen back x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooooh, rose and violet creams, my favourites too! I always used to buy them for my mum as a present when the village corner shop was still a proper sweet shop. (It was one of those shops where the sweets were weighed from big jars into paper bags. heaven.) How about Parma Violet sweets? Another flowery concoction! Hope you get your kitchen back soon! x

      Delete
  9. Gosh those look great and I picked an armful of lavender on saturday so I shall make them today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue. How lovely to have armfuls of lavender! I noticed that my neighbour's lavender (in full sun) has started to die off already. Luckily mine is slightly less fried so I still have flowers. I think the biscuits are nicer made with fresh rather than dried flowers.

      Delete
  10. An interesting post. I have some lavender on the plot for the bees and butterflies. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Flighty. I thought you might. ;o) x

      Delete
  11. Hi Caro
    I'm belatedly catching up with your blog here! It's great with very lovely photos. I have lots of lavender and I absolutely love the fragrance but I'm not convinced about it as a foodstuff. Those biscuits do look good, though, so I might give them a go and try it again. Sam x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I found that the flavour mellowed when stored in an airtight jar for a few days and the lemon definitely helped - all the biscuits were really nice in the end so I'll definitely be making them again. I love having a little posy of lavender in the kitchen so I can smell it as I wash up! Happy summer days, eh! Caro x

      Delete
  12. What a lovely post! I didn't realise the leaves were edible too, I must give those biscuits a go.....I am a huge fan of lavender and always sleep with a batch under my pillow. Mine is just coming into it's own now!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm been struck by the difference even between lavender growing here - some flowers are finishing while mine are still going strong in their slightly shadier spot. It's lovely to have a sachet under the pillow; I make my own - and handwarmers - at the end of the season. Gorgeous smell! xx

      Delete
  13. There look lovely another fellow blogger made these a few weeks ago too. i must try them before the flowers go over! Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah. I love that these recipes keep surfacing in the summer months. It's so lovely to cook with things growing in the garden! Hope you get to the flowers in time! xx

      Delete

Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...