Hannah Drake

The Great British Drake Off: Lavender Week

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Last October, we decided to have our first Great British Drake Off. You can read all about Treacle Week, where I won, and where the idea came from before we dive into our latest challenge. We had so much fun doing it the first time that we decided to do it every quarter with a different main ingredient. The first quarter this year was Red Velvet Week, where Luke won and my bake was an epic failure anyway, in honour of Valentine’s Day. (You can find the recipes for Luke’s ginger cake and my molasses cookies on Treacle Week and the recipes for Luke’s red velvet cinnamon rolls and my red velvet cake on Red Velvet Week.)

THE CHALLENGE

It’s Lavender week at the Drake household and each baker will need to prepare a signature lavender bake. The bakers will attempt to create a biscuit or cookie with a show-stopping lavender flavour, complemented by other unique flavours.

THE BAKERS

Luke is a professional construction site manager who has dabbled in baking. He insisted he has baked every type of dessert you can think of. Most people say he’s good at anything he does. Luke can eat a whole batch of chocolate chip cookie dough in one sitting, but he’ll probably regret it later. His favourite thing favourite treat to eat is whatever his wife has just baked. He had no problem wishing aloud that he had brownies for dessert on a random week night. He lives in Birmingham with his wife.

Hannah is an amateur baker who dabbles in construction. She has been baking for as long as she can remember. Hannah once had an order-based bakery from her own kitchen called Bananas that specialised in cupcakes, quick breads, and cookies. She once ate an entire banana cream pie on a dare from her cousin, but insists it was mostly pudding so it wasn’t that impressive. Her favourite thing to bake and eat is chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. She feels chocolate frosting is actual garbage and fiercely believes nothing pairs better than vanilla frosting on chocolate cake. She lives in Birmingham with her husband.

LUKE’S BAKE

Lemon Lavender Shortbread from The Beach House Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp.culinary lavender

  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • pure cane sugar for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.

Place 1 Tbsp. of the granulated sugar, lavender, and lemon zest in a mortar and grind lightly with the pestle.

Place lavender mixture in large bowl with remaining sugar and butter. Cream together until smooth. Add vanilla. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture until it forms a dough. Shape into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes (I used a 1 3/4 inch cutter) and place on prepared sheet. Sprinkle with some pure cane sugar, then place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Can be store in an airtight container for 5 days.

HANNAH’S BAKE

Salted White Chocolate Lavender Cookies from Spache the Spatula

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp cornstarch

  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 tsp lavender

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 6 Tbsp vegetable shortening

  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

  • 6 oz. white chocolate chunks (about 1 and 1/2 cups)

  • sea salt, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a food processor, process the sugar and lavender for about 10-20 seconds until the lavender is chopped into pretty tiny pieces, and sugar starts billowing like smoke up pout of the top of the processor.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and lavender sugar at medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add in the egg and egg yolk and beat for 3 more minutes until fluffy. Add in the flour mixture and the chocolate and beat on low until combined.

Using a large (3 tablespoon-sized) cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto silicone baking mat (or parchment paper)-lined baking sheets an inch or two apart. Place the tray in the freezer.

Preheat your oven to 375F (170C). When the oven has finished preheating, take the dough out of the freezer and bake for 12 minutes. It should look a little underdone when you take it out. Immediately sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of sea salt (and extra lavender, if you want).

Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets before moving to a wire baking rack to cool completely.

(Note: I put 6 scoops of dough in the freezer as soon as I put six in the oven so the last batch wouldn’t have been in the freezer for significantly longer than about 12 minutes.)

THE JUDGES

We took our cookies into work the next day and offered them to our coworkers on the agreement that they would tell us which one was better.

THE WINNER

After five votes, Hannah was winning unanimously, but after one judge changed his mind, it opened the flood gates for a 4-4 tie. When the final vote was cast, Hannah was declared the winner.

NEXT ON THE GREAT BRITISH DRAKE OFF

For our summer edition, we might try making homemade bread!