These biscuits are very simple to make, although require a lot of elbow grease and a hefty amount of sugar. I came up with the idea of these based on a lemon and basil eton mess my boyfriend had on new years eve. I think the basil stops the biscuits being deadly sweet and gives them a little sparkle.
150g plain flour
175g unsalted butter
~2 tablespoons of chopped basil
80g golden caster sugar (plus extra for dusting)
zest of 2 lemons
splash of milk
extra squeeze of lemon juice
1. The first few stages are preparatory. Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper and turn the oven on to preheat to 180•C.
2. Chop approximately 1 large handful of basil leaves into small pieces. I have a little mini chopper from Lakeland which makes short work of jobs like this, but you could always snip the leaves up with scissors. It is hard to tell you an exact amount in grams to chop, but in the end you want roughly 2 tablespoons of chopped basil to add to your mix.
3. Measure out 80g of golden caster sugar. Add this to 175g of butter, then cream the two together until light and fluffy. Sprinkle in the basil and the zest of 2 lemons and mix thoroughly. Your mix will have now turned a quirky green colour, which may seem unnatural for a baking. Unfortunately the biscuits loose some of their green tinge in the oven.
4. Sift the flour in, a bit at a time. Beat the flour into the butter/sugar mix. This is where the real elbow grease comes in because the shortbread should be a stiff, dry dough, and you will have to beat for quite a while to incorporate all the flour. Add a quick dash of milk (like the amount you would put in a coffee) and a squeeze of lemon at the end, which should give it a helping hand to form a biscuit dough.
5. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the biscuit dough out to about 3-5mm thick. Stamp out your biscuits with approximately a 7-8cm diameter cookie cutter. I kept mine a simple, round shape because I thought to dough was already fancy enough in it’s appearance. When you can’t stamp out anymore, re-roll the scraps and stamp out some more.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until beginning to turn a light golden colour. Leave to cool on a rack. They will be soft when they come out the oven but don’t worry because they harden up at they cool.
7. Once cool, dust liberally on top and bottoms with golden caster sugar.