Sunday, 18 August 2013

The taste of Lavender is as good as the scent!

Visitors to Cusworth Hall were surprised to learn that Lavender was a popular ingredient in baking as they enjoyed sampling Grandma’s scrumptious Lavender biscuits. As well as being a beautiful plant, Lavender is one of the best kept secrets for baking. Lavender sugar can be used to bake a wide range of teatime favourites such as Scones by substituting the sugar with Lavender sugar in the recipe.
How to make Lavender sugar 

Place the caster sugar in a bowl. For every 4oz/110g sugar, you need a tablespoonful of lavender. Add the lavender to the sugar by pressing it through a sieve with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Put the sugar in a clean jar and add another tablespoon of lavender flowers to the jar. Cover the jar and shake well every couple of days. Leave for 3 to 5 days for the lavender to infuse into the sugar. Then it’s ready to use.
Lavender Biscuits  
150g/5oz butter
225g/8oz plain flour
75g/3oz lavender sugar
1 yolk of egg

Rub the butter into the flour and add the sugar and the salt. Add the egg and work into the flour as quickly as possible, making a dry dough. The mixture must be kept dry. Roll out thinly and cut into rounds. Bake for 25 minutes in a slow oven. (300F, Mark 2, 150C)
Chris at Fragrant Lavender sent me a very simple and scrumptious recipe for Lavender Cakes which uses flower buds mixed with the flour. These are for small cakes which Grandma would call 'buns'. 
Lavender Cakes
4 oz/110g Margarine or butter 
4 oz/110g Caster Sugar
4 o/110g Self Raising Flour
2 Eggs
1 tsp Lavender flower buds 
(Chris says: 'I use fresh ones but you could use dried ones.')

Cream the margarine/butter and sugar until light and creamy in texture. Add the eggs a little at a time and beat well. Add the lavender flower buds to the flour then fold into the mixture. Half fill paper bun cases then bake at 180-190C, 350-375F, Gas mark 4-5 for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch.
If you haven’t got lavender in your garden, visit a Lavender farm and pick up a plant.   

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