I have to admit that for me, Valentine’s Day is not a big deal. Neither me or the boyf are particularly fussed about it, and with his birthday a few days before I’m always out of present ideas. Although we don’t celebrate the day itself, baking is the way I show love to him all throughout the year (even if that love is sometimes just a big heap of leftover scraps, or a photo!). I though it would be great to share a recipe you can make for everyone you love, romantically or otherwise.
These Lavender Shortbread Hearts take barely any hands on time to make, are sweetly coloured and shaped and taste beautifully fragrant. They also make a huge batch, so you can give some to all of the significant people in your life to show your love. Or, if you’re panicking about Valentine’s Day gifts, package some up in a box with little messages written on them for ultimate cute gift giving. They’d even make lovely wedding favours, if you’re in the market for that kind of thing.
The recipe is very slightly adapted from a very reliable Lilly Vanilli recipe that I’ve made loads of times with different flavour combinations (I can’t recommend her book enough for fool-proof recipes with loads of variations). I’ve even made Cardamon and Coriander Seed shortbread using this method, so if you’re not a fan of lavender don’t be afraid to mix it up flavour wise! I have a huge jar of lavender my mum grew and gave to me, which is why I decided to go with it here. Refrigerating the cut biscuits means they keep their shape nicely – just remember to set a timer and go off and do something else while they cool.
If you find the hearts and pink a bit cutesy, let your imagination go wild. Covering half in fancy sprinkles, or even dipping them in dark chocolate would also be a great touch – you know best what your loved one likes. And if the loved one you are making them for is yourself, then I’m with you all the way!
Recipe: Valentine’s Day Lavender Shortbread Hearts (slightly adapted from Lily Vanilli)
75g caster sugar
2 tbsp dried organic lavender flowers
300g plain flour
25g icing sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
250g unsalted butter, in cubes, cold
1 egg yolk
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white
- Line a few trays with baking powder and clear enough space in your fridge for the trays to fit.
- Grab a pestle and mortar and grind together the lavender and the caster sugar. If your mortar isn’t big enough to fit all the sugar in, just add less of the sugar. Grind together until the flowers are broken down, but there are still noticeable pieces.
- Add lavender sugar to a bowl. Add in the flour, icing sugar and salt, and give a good whisk to combine and aerate.
- Add the cold butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. This will take a while. Top tip – wash your hands with cold water and dry thoroughly before you start this step to make sure the butter doesn’t melt.
- In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolk and vanilla together, then add to the breadcrumb mixture. Bring together into a dough, stopping as soon as it does.
- Roll out the dough to your preferred thickness – I go for about 1cm thick. Cut out heart shapes and place on the trays. Re-roll the dough as few times as possible to avoid overworking it. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight if you have time.
- Preheat oven to 180C. Bake one tray at a time (leaving the rest in the fridge) for around 12 mins. The edges will just be starting to brown. Leave to cool completely.
- To decorate whisk the egg white until frothy and add a few teaspoons of water. Add icing sugar until you get a glaze like consistency. Split into as many bowls as you want different colours. Add colouring to each and mix well. Dip half the biscuit into the glaze and place on a cooling rack with backing paper underneath to catch the drips.