Lavender shortbread

Recently I was reminded of how fun Transformers are. The toys, not the live action films.

Last Saturday I had lunch with my friends Liz and Treens at a cafe near a park. Afterwards, we sat in Treens’ courtyard and wiled away the hours in the afternoon sun with some beer. Her five year old son Sam jumped around us, showing off his Lego helicopter and Optimus Prime in robot form. Fiddling around trying to shift Optimus Prime back into a truck, I failed miserably.

My brother had the most amazing Transformers collection when we were kids. Make no mistake, it was his collection and not ours. Back then, my dad seemed to buy my brother a new Transformers toy every fortnight. Or at least it felt like that to jealous ol’ me. I couldn’t understand why he kept getting presents for no reason.

My dad’s a bit of a collector; someone who doesn’t like throwing things out, much to my mother’s continuing despair. In hindsight, he was just creating another collection and living vicariously through my brother. I can still recall the look of absolute glee on my dad’s face when he had a new addition for my brother’s collection.

I returned home Saturday evening clutching sprigs of lavender from Treens’ garden. This was combined with grapefruit zest to flavour shortbread. Buttery and crumbly, it’s everything shortbread should be. I was cautious about the lavender but next time would add in up to almost 2 tablespoons. Use only a scant tablespoon if you have dried lavender (making sure it’s pesticide free).

Feeds: 20 people
Start cooking: About 1 hour before eating

Lavender shortbread

  • 1 1/2 cups x plain flour
  • 220 grams x unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup x golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup x cornflour (or rice flour)
  • 1-2 tablespoons x fresh lavender flowers, picked and lightly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons x grapefruit zest (optional)
  • Additional caster sugar to sprinkle before baking (optional)
  1. Sift the plain flour and cornflour into a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale.
  3. Stir the lavender and grapefruit zest into the creamed mixture .
  4. Then fold through flour mixture. Gently knead the dough on a clean surface until smooth.
  5. Separate the dough in half.
  6. Shape each half into a log about 5cm (2 inches) in diameter. Wrap each log in baking paper, twisting the ends. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 160 C (320 F) and prepare two baking trays with silicon baking mats or baking paper.
  8. Unwrap the logs, slice into 1/2 cm rounds and place on the prepared trays. Roll the logs in sugar prior to slicing or just sprinkle the cut rounds with extra caster sugar for additional sweetness and crunch if desired.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until still pale but just cooked.
  10. Rest for 2 minutes before moving to cooling racks.

The grapefruit was a little distracting and it might have been better to keep the flavours separate but it was received well by my work colleagues. They’re getting used to regular batches of baked goodies. It’s too dangerous to keep these things in the house.