Christmas baking: Lemon and Rosemary biscuits

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If you type in rosemary on a Google search there’s a wealth of information on health benefits and rich folk lore attached to its name. A symbol of remembrance and fidelity, it’s mentioned by Ophelia in William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ – “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance”. At funerals in Elizabethan times rosemary was strewn on the deceased coffin to denote they would be remembered and at weddings flowering sprigs of rosemary were worn by the bride to ensure wedding vows were not forgotten. It’s also claimed that rosemary improves memory as well as having the added benefit of containing iron and B vitamins.  But a favourite is a legend that claims the Virgin Mary spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting and consequently the flowers turned blue. The shrub became known as ‘Rose of Mary’!

So with a flourishing rosemary bush on the allotment and Christmas holidays round the corner these citrusy Lemon and Rosemary biscuits make for a delicious treat or gift.

 Lemon & Rosemary cookies

150 grams /5oz Butter
175 grams/ 6oz Golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 eggs
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
337 grams / 11 1/4 oz all purpose flour or plain flour
1 1\2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
14 grams / 1/2oz Pine nuts

For the icing
4 oz/125 grams icing sugar
2 tablespoons double cream
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Decorate with  pine nuts and sprigs of rosemary

Turn on the oven to 170C/325F/ gas 3 and start by grating the zest of about 6 Lemons to make 1tbsp  and finely chop 2tsp Rosemary, removing the needles from the woody stalk. Measure out your pine nuts and salt.

lemon rose salt pine nuts

To make: In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter & sugar together until light and creamy then add your zest and eggs, one at a time making sure everything is mixed in well. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and chopped rosemary. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix, a little at a time making sure the flour is blended in thoroughly. When the mixture is dough like add the pine nuts. Place the dough in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up. Meanwhile Grease 2-3 good sized baking trays. When the dough is firm take a desert spoon of  dough and roll in to a ball and slightly flatten on the baking tray. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, until slightly puffed and just starting to brown around the edges. Leave the biscuits to cool completely on a cooling rack before Icing.

The icing: Combine the cream, icing sugar and lemon juice till smooth. Spread a small amount on top of the biscuits then decorate with a pine nut and a couple of Rosemary needles. Wait until the icing has completely dried before packaging your biscuits.

 Packaged biscuits

This recipe has been adapted from this FamilyStyle Food recipe 

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