I can’t be the only person who considers the Great British Bake Off to be one of the highlights of my summer. I’ve had rather a non-stop July when I seemed to be constantly running around. The heat really doesn’t help, everything seems to take about ten times longer when you’re sweaty and I’ve become pretty lazy (sure, if I take the clothes out of the washing machine, they’ll just dry themselves! That’s a legitimate strategy, right?) It’s going to get even busier, as starting in August, I’m pretty much constantly working and travelling (and trying to squeeze in some baking and blogging!) It’s one of those situations where I spent ages planning holidays and then they all seem to be coming at once. Yes, I know how self righteous that sounds – like complaining that my diamond tiara doesn’t fit quite right! – but I’m someone who loves a quiet evening at home, with a delicious homecooked meal, some cakes in the oven and some great telly. So GBBO is the perfect evening relaxation for me.
As a result, I’m always excited to see cookbooks from previous contestants. Mum Cathryn Dresser, who competed in the 2012 series, has been very vocal about how much she loves baking with her children and how important it is to start baking and cooking from childhood and teaching the value of homemade food and the result is Let’s Bake, her first cookbook geared towards children bakers. Unfortunately, I don’t regularly bake with any children (the best candidates, my young cousins, live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean), but the best cookbook is one which starts being useful in childhood and can still be pulled out as a reference text in adulthood. This cookbook is unusual in that most cookbooks for children are aimed at very simple recipes, but there are quite complex recipes including sausage rolls, merengues and toffee sauce. I would definitely recommend this for people who want to give their children a bit more advanced recipes or really move beyond the basics of just chocolate chip cookies.
Lavender Shortbread (adapted from Let’s Bake)
200g unsalted butter (as in all shortbreads, make sure this is good quality – I make sure to go with Kerrygold)
100g lavender sugar
300g flour (a bit more for dusting)