The inspiration for this recipe came from Japanese Sakura biscuits that are made with preserved salted cherry blossoms. They are a lovely little buttery biscuit like a fine shortbread, but with a bit of softness that means they have an almost melt-in-your-mouth feel.
The salted cherry blossoms that are used to make Sakura biscuits are not easy to find in the UK, perhaps only from the Japan Centre or an Asian grocery store around springtime if you’re lucky. They have a really unique flavour that I don’t think you can replicate with anything else. Instead I went for different flavours altogether, using lemon and chamomile, my main goal being to recreate the biscuits’ texture. Finding chamomile is straightforward enough, being available in tea shops, spice shops, or online. I got mine from the Spice Shop in Brighton, where they sell everything from ground spices and dried herbs to prepared seasonings and curry mixes, all in their signature yellow tins.
These little dinky biscuits are really straightforward to make and are the perfect companion to a nice cup of tea.
- 120g unsalted butter
- 110g plain flour
- 60g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- Pinch salt
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 tbsp chamomile flowers
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Meanwhile, soak the chamomile flowers in warm water for about 30 mins. Dry gently, keep aside the nicest for decorating (about 12) and finely chop the rest.
- Cream the butter and sugar before adding in the egg. Once combined, gradually add in the sifted flour followed by the chopped chamomile and lemon zest.
- Chill the dough for about 30 mins before rolling it into a sausage shape (about 1.5 inch diameter) and wrapping in cling film. Then chill again for at least 2 hours – this will make it much easier to cut the biscuits into even shapes.
- Once the dough is chilled, slice into thin biscuits and place on a cookie sheet. Press one of the flowers you set aside into each biscuit gently to decorate.
- Bake for 15 minutes before taking them out of the oven and leaving on the baking sheet for a further 10 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack until ready to serve.