I love to bake treats for our Bed and Breakfast guests that reflect the seasons and change my recipes as the time of year progresses. My latest go to is lemon shortcake. The pale icing sugared discs reflect the cold air of early spring and the risk of a late snow flutter, while the sharp zingy lemon reminds me of the daffodils and primroses that are erupting in the Eagle House garden.
They go very nicely with a cup of tea after a brisk walk around the Staffordshire countryside. Eccleshall, at the moment, is full of green shoots bursting through the earth, full of promise.
The lemon zest can of course be left out and substituted for vanilla bean paste, if a more comforting treat is desired. Other flavours that could be used are lavender or everyone’s favourite – chocolate.
As with all my bakes, this recipe is suitable for vegans. It is important to me that my baking can be enjoyed by as many guests as possible. This means they don’t taste quite the same as traditional shortbread. They are more of a soft, almost chewy biscuit. Making thicker discs than I do may replicate more of the shortbread mouth feel.
Preparation time – about 5 minutes.
Cooking time – about 15 minutes.
Difficulty rating – Easy Peasy.
To makes around 20;
- 200 g / 7 oz dairy-free butter
- 100 g / 3.5 oz caster sugar
- 300 g / 10.5 oz plain flour, sifted
- 1 tsp lemon essence
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Cream the butter, lemon essence and caster sugar together. Stir in the flour and mix into a dough. Add a few drops of water if you need to, to help it come together. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for around half an hour to firm up.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C / 140°C (fan) / 320°F and line a few baking trays with parchment paper.
- Once the dough is chilled, dust your surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out to approximately ½ cm thickness and cut into shapes. Carefully lift and place on the baking sheet. I use a spatula to help me do this. Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar if you want to and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown at the edges, turning half way through to ensure even baking.
- Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving or decorating. I simply dust with icing sugar but you could make some lemon flavoured royal icing to drizzle on instead.