I love to bake with herbs either in savoury recipes themselves or to add a savoury twist to sweet recipes. My herb garden is currently abundant with beautiful leaves, from flowering thyme and sage to chives and rosemary. A new addition to my herbs this year was lemon balm. Being a member of the mint family, lemon balm is also known as balm mint, and indeed has similar leaves and vigorous growing properties to mint. The leaves have a mild lemony scent and I have been using it on fish and in salads for an alternative citrus flavour. Last weekend I used it to add a herby twist to a traditional lemon shortbread. (If you don’t have lemon balm however just add a little extra lemon zest to this recipe). Decorated with some dried edible flowers these would make a pretty edible gift, or a lovely summery teatime treat!
Lemon Balm Shortbread
Ingredients for the Shortbread (makes 12):
- 170g plain flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 110g room temperature butter
- 1tbsp finely chopped lemon balm leaves
- Finely grated zest 1/2 lemon
- Dried flower petals (optional, to decorate)
- Icing sugar (optional, to decorate)
- To make the shortbread, preheat the oven to 180°C/356F.
- Place the flour, caster sugar, butter and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until the mixture has almost come together.
- Add the chopped lemon balm and pulse a few more times until mixed in.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to between 0.5-1cm thick. If you are using edible flowers, sprinkle over the rolled dough at this point and give a further roll to press the petals lightly into the dough.
- Cut out biscuit rounds using a 6cm round cutter (or any size or shape you prefer!).
- Place the biscuits on a baking tray and bake for 8-10mins (turning half-way through if required) until lightly golden.
- Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before gently transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely.
- Once cool, dust with a little icing sugar.
- Store in an airtight container.