There are times when I want to bake something speedy and easy to eat, and no fuss shortbread fingers are the perfect choice. They remind me of my childhood, of taking tea with my granny and grandad in their pretty South London garden, and of munching shortbread with my little brother as we watched Blue Peter on the telly after school.
We've got some beautiful lavender plants growing in the herb patch, so I decided to add a few florets to the shortbread recipe. Don't worry, there's lots left for the bees to enjoy! If you don't have any lavender to hand, you could add a little lemon, rose or vanilla flavouring to these instead.
This is my mum's recipe, originally from Elizabeth David she thinks.
2 tbsp fresh lavender florets
60g ground almonds
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
84g caster sugar
170g plain flour
56g rice flour or corn flour
vanilla sugar for optional extra sprinkling
1. Turn the oven to 155C (135C fan oven), and get out a good sized baking tray.
2. In a large bowl mix the soft butter into the flour, adding the rice flour or cornflour in stages when the butter gets sticky.
3. Next add the almonds, lavender and sugar and mix well.
4. Once the the mixture is smooth, roll it onto a lightly floured surface. Carefully roll out the mixture using a rolling pin, until the paste is approx 1cm thick.
5. Cut into fingers and place on the baking tray. Press it down lightly and prick with a fork to make rows of dots in the fingers if you like the traditional shortbread look.
6. Place in the low heated oven to bake for 75 mins until a light gold biscuit colour. Leave to cool on a wire rack, but before the shortbread is cold cut it into small wedges or fingers. Once cooled, they can be sprinkled with a little vanilla sugar if you like them especially pretty and sugary.
This shortbread was idly baked to the sounds of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.