Growing up, I spent many happy summers on my Grandparents' farm in Norfolk. There are many smells that can instantly whisk me 20 years back in time to those carefree days: ripe tomatoes, buddleja, and lavender flowers. Norfolk and lavender are synonymous in my book, and (possibly due to the many day trips to the lavender farm in King's Lynn) their sweet fragrance pervades every memory of my holidays there.
On a whim late last year, I decided to make lavender sugar. Perhaps it was a fit of nostalgia, maybe just a subconscious attempt to remember my Grandparents at a time of year when I miss their presence most. Whatever it was, I added a heaped teaspoon of dried lavender flowers and a recently deseeded vanilla pod into 500g (ish) of caster sugar, put the whole thing into a container, sealed it and left it in the cupboard for later. Apart from the occasional shake, I haven't given it much thought since. Until this week, when I was researching sugar cookie recipes and a spark of inspiration suggested that this might be a good use for the lavender sugar.
Well done to that spark! As the name suggests, sugar plays a significant role in a sugar cookie, so it was a brilliant way to showcase the deliciously scented sugar. In a nod to my Grandpa's prized buddleja (sometimes called a butterfly bush), I decided to dig out my prettiest cookie cutter.
Lavender Sugar Cookies
150g lavender sugar, sieved to remove the flowers (see above)
150g butter, softened
150g white rice flour, plus a little extra for dusting
100g brown rice flour
- Whisk together the egg and sugar until frothy and no grainy bits are left.
- Sift in the flour and add the butter, combine well then turn out on to a floured surface and knead well until you have a smooth dough.
- Wrap with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for about an hour.
- Once the dough is chilled, roll out on a floured surface (about the thickness of a pound coin) and cut out your shapes.
- Place cookies on a greased baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius, until lightly golden.
- Allow to cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack (if you move them sooner, they'll be too soft and you'll break them).
I iced my cookies with plain water icing. Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add a couple of drops of food colouring. Mix in hot water, a teaspoon at a time to make a thick paste. Put a couple of spoonfuls into a piping bag with a thin nozzle and pipe the outline around your cookie. Thin the remaining icing with a little more water and spoon it in to fill the rest of the cookie. Use a cocktail stick to push the icing to the edges. Then decorate with edible glitter, chocolate beans, or whatever you fancy!