Lavender Spelt Shortbread

Inspired by my perusal of Heidi Swanson‘s superb cookbook Super Natural Cooking, I’ve been motivated to start baking with more esoteric – to me, at least – grains and foods. I’m all stocked up on my favourite quinoa to try out some of her recipes (you’ll find plenty more online at 101 Cookbooks), millet, amaranth, linseed and – in the move – rediscovered some Letheringsett Watermill Organic Spelt Flour from our trip to Norfolk. Subtitled “Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Ingredients into your Cooking”, it’s a perfect read if you’re interested in cooking with whole foods and wanting to learn more about what is available and what can be done with it. And, unlike the educational but boring-looking Fresh and Wild Cookbook, it looks amazing.

One of the things I really like about Super Natural Cooking is the way that Heidi encourages you to substitute whole grains for what you would use normally. Quinoa instead of orzo, pearl barley for risotto rice, tef flour in a quiche crust instead of wheat flour. Little steps to help you integrate all these new foods in your diet without feeling like you’re having to completely change your recipes and ways of cooking. In that spirit, while making some Shortbread to fill the tins, I decided to finally use some of my spelt flour. This was encouraged by the bag almost falling out of my baking cupboard as I reached for the sugar. When your ingredients start to fight back it is definitely a sign that you need to actually use them!

To complement the nutty taste of the spelt, I added a quarter-teaspoonful of dried lavender flowers, bought in a Moroccan supermarket last year. Be very careful while you measure these out – too much and your Lavender Spelt Shortbread can easily taste like the scrapings from little-old-lady dressing table.

Lavender Spelt Shortbread
Butter – 250g, cubed
Unbleached flour – 250g
Organic spelt flour – 125g
Light Muscovado sugar – 125g
Dried lavender flowers – ¼ teaspoon
Caster sugar – 3 tablespoons
Preheat oven to 150°C. Butter a 25cm x 38cm x 4cm baking tin and leave to one side.

Rub the butter and flours together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Rub in the sugar until the mixture starts to come together. Press evenly into the prepared baking tin and prick with a fork.

Cook for 50 minutes until pale golden. Remove from oven, sprinkle immediately with the caster sugar and let cool on a wire rack for five minutes. Wsing a sharp knife, score the shortbread into approximately 7 x 2.5 cm fingers.

Makes approximately 50 pieces.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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6 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    These sound great Caroline very inventive! Is the book a good one then? I’m a fan of the site but I have to ration my cookbook purchases this year I’m seriously running out of space!

  2. Caroline says:

    Hate to tell you this, Laura, but Super Natural Cooking is definitely worth picking up, especially if you already enjoy the site. The recipes aren’t replicated but the quality of the writing, ideas and images will be very familar from 101 Cookbooks. I’m half way through at the moment, eeking it out a couple of pages at a time!As regards my Shortbread, none of my testers could recognise the flavour! I must admit, though, that they aren’t often the most discerning of customers, being happy just as long as they get some sweet stuff.

  3. eva says:

    Caroline, thanks for the pointer about this new book. I have been doing this replacing ingredients for a while as I had a stomach condition, but of course with varýing success…The peral barley is quite easy to use but I was having difficulties with spelt, bacause it is not rising as easily as wheat. I will definitely try this Lavender Shortbread in the hope to find one more recipe that would match your Ginger crackers. Believe it or not, but I have been baking it every weekend this winter. Boring, some would think but I just can´t get enough.That is a real hit!vs xx

  4. Caroline says:

    Lovely to hear from you Eva and delighted to hear that you’re enjoying the ginger recipe – if I find a recipe I like, I often cook it week after week! Could I ask which one it is? If you have a problem with wheat, I THINK that you could replace all the normal flour with spelt flour for this Lavender Spelt Shortbread recipe but I haven’t tried that out myself yet.If you’re trying to incorporate more whole foods into your diet, Heidi’s Super Natural Cooking is well worth checking out. Take a look at her blog – 101 Cookbooks – for some idea of what’s in it. If you’re in Ireland, I know that the book is available from Eason’s and Waterstone’s bookshops.

  5. eva says:

    Hehe! You don´t remember me, aren´t you? We made a tea-swap last year I think through the Nigella board and you were sending me some Ginger crunches (LOL sorry! crunches, not crackers, that´s why you didn´t recognize your own recipe :P). I just looooooved them so much and strangely enaugh I never get tired of them!Would you like to have a link to that post? It´s worth checking out :) I´m considering baking your Soda Bread, I took a look at Tamasins, but yours sounds more interesting with the oatmeal and pumpkin seed addition.

  6. Caroline says:

    Sorry Eva – didn’t recogise your email address! Really glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying the Ginger Crunch recipe. It’s so easy to make and lasts very well in a biscuit tin, although I’ve never had it sitting around too long!The Brown Soda Bread is dead easy too and even nicer topped with a mixture of sesame and sunflower seeds (see here for details). When you toast the bread it really brings out the flavour of the seeds. Happy baking and let me know how you get on!

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