I have always associated lavender with the Provence region in France. The iconic photos showing drifts of purple flowers were something I could only see in display windows of chic perfumeries or on labels of expensive cosmetic creams.
When I got a sheaf of dried lavender from my friend recently, I was quite surprised to learn that it came from the south of Slovakia. A quick Internet search provided quite a few lavender growing businesses which have sprouted up in the warm regions of Slovakia over the last few years.
I had heard previously that our grandmothers used to place cotton bags filled with dried lavender flowers in cupboards and wardrobes to repel moths and freshen up clothes.
But I didn’t know much about the culinary use of this aromatic plant and it wouldn’t cross my mind to use it in baking – until I saw this simple recipe for Levanduľové sušienky on a Slovak cooking website.
So I gave it a go and was more than happy with the result.
Makes 30 (depending on the cutter size)
- 250 g fine flour (1½ cup)
- 120 g butter or margarine
- 1 egg
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
- Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl to make a smooth thick dough. Cover with a dishcloth and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Transfer the dough onto a rolling board dusted with flour. Roll out evenly until it is ½ cm thick. With a cookie cutter, cut out cakes and place them on the baking sheet, spacing them slightly apart.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, put the baking sheet in and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies turn golden. Take them out of the oven, let cool and transfer onto a serving plate.
Stored in an airtight container, the cookies will retain their aroma and flavour for several weeks.