I crave spring.
Let’s face it, everybody welcomes summer with open arms, ready for the sunny days by the beach, gentle waves lapping at toenails painted in pastel shades, clear cornflower-blue skies overhead. Perhaps soft cotton caresses your back, or is stashed past the tide line, fading in the sand, bathers the attire of choice as water soothes hot skin. But then the heatwave hits, and the beach is no longer a place to cool off, it’s a place where sun-kissed skin gets sunburned, and sunburned skin goes to die.
If I could choose, it would be spring all year round, then the scent of lavender could infuse my entire house, and possibly even my skin if the scent was strong enough.
Alas, lavender is not hardy enough to last those summer heatwaves, and I’ve had to settle for lavender-scented skin products, lest I forget those spring days.
I found dried lavender in my local health food shop. And my mind was blown.
Now I could not only sprinkle tiny flower buds across every window sill in the house, I could crush them into cookies, stir them into syrup and pound them into my porridge.
Lo and behold, these lavender shortbread sandwiches were born. From my love of spring, from my hatred of heatwaves, and from my lavender addiction.
And also from sales on frozen berries, ’cause we had a ton of those things and then I discovered that you can use frozen berries to make buttercream! What colour buttercream? Lavender coloured buttercream.
I’m sensing a trend here.
Just as I enjoy warm summer days – just not the boiling hot ones during a good ol’ West Australian heat wave where you step outside and immediately begin to sweat – I hope you enjoy these lavender shortbread sandwiches. Don’t expect a flavour explosion; the taste is pleasantly subtle, just enough to remind you of springtime.
Lots of love, your lavender lusting author, Rosie.
- 95g white rice flour
- 35g tapioca starch
- 80g cornflour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 100g unsalted butter
- 105g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 50g potato starch, plus extra for kneading
- 1/2 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
- 70g frozen blueberries
- 1 tablespoon water
- 120g unsalted butter
- 195g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon milk of choice
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- Whisk together the rice flour, tapioca starch, cornflour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt until well combined. Set aside for later.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until a soft dough forms. Fold through the potato starch and lavender.
- Dump the dough onto a work surface liberally dusted with extra potato starch and roll out until 3-4 mm thick, using as much potato starch as needed to prevent sticking. Use a round cutter to cut out discs and transfer to the prepared trays. Re-roll the scraps as many times as possible to limit waste.
- Bake the shortbread for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on the trays for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small saucepan, cook the blueberries and water over low heat until juices begin to be released, about 5 minutes. You can encourage this process by mashing the berries with the back of a spoon once soft. Once the berries reach a syrup-like consistency, remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve into a jug *(see notes below)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter until very pale. Then add half the icing sugar and beat until almost combined. Add the milk, mix until thick, then add the remaining icing sugar and beat until smooth, thick, and spreadable.
- Slowly add blueberry syrup drop by drop until desired colour is reached, I used about a tablespoon here. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
- Take one shortbread and turn upside down so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe buttercream over the top, then press on another biscuit. Repeat with remaining shortbreads.
- Store the shortbread sandwiches in an airtight container in the fridge for four to five days.
- Fight food waste! Rather than throwing away the skins and seeds that aren't required for this recipe, use it as a healthy alternative to jam for dolloping on your favourite porridge, blend it into a smoothie or spread across toast.