I’ve wanted to cook with lavender for as long as I can remember. A few years ago I experimented with a lavender sorbet – our priest, Father Ben, kindly donated the flowers from a bush growing outside his front door in Haworth – and it tasted so much better than I’d dreamed that I decided I’d grow our own in the garden and use it for further cooking adventures.
Fast-forward to last month, past several failures to make lavender thrive in our garden’s soil, to our ‘Tea With Mrs Brontë’ event, for which I decided I’d make lavender-cream-cheese-and-ham sandwiches – that Regency period was full of flower recipes and flavours, and I thought Mrs Brontë might well have eaten something similar.
Oh my goodness! – that lavender-and-cheese mixture was addictive. Despite using the barest couple of teasspoonfuls of flower heads, it charged the whole sandwich with a depth of flavour I would never have expected. Herbes de Provence (also including lavender, of course), white pepper and sea salt completed the mixture.
I’d given up on growing the stuff by this point, and settled for the perfectly serviceable, much easier, cheaper option of buying a bag of it online. Those sandwiches, though, used only a few teaspoons of flower heads, and I now had an enormous bag to use up.
Which is why I came via a circuitous route to something I’ve been meaning to make for ages: a delicious sounding Swedish recipe called lavendel drömmar (lavender dreams) – crisp, yellow, buttery biscuits flavoured with lavender.
I’ve made them twice now – once to accompany vanilla icecream at a dinner party for friends; once to eat with coffee at a business meeting. Both times they were thoroughly appreciated.
Here’s the recipe if you’re interested in trying it yourself:
Lavendel Drömmar (Lavender Dreams)
175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
60g caster sugar
175g butter or margarine
3tsp lavender flowers, stripped from their stalks
Cream butter and sugar, mix in flour and baking powder, and finally the lavender. Form into balls the size of a walnut, spaced apart on a greased, lined baking tray, and bake at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) for about 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Slide off and leave to crisp up on a flat surface as they cool. Makes about 24 biscuits.