These "buttery", rich yet dairy-free delightful biscuits are the perfect Imbolc treat!
Imbolc or Candlemas, is the first holiday on the Pagan calendar. It marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Imbolc honours the return of the light and the patron goddess of light and fire, Brigid. For millennia, man has celebrated and personified the Sun and Earth's celestial dance. The ancients observed that solar energy was the source of all life on the planet. Traditionally on this night, bon fires were lit to represent the sun and its purifying, life giving rays. It is the subtle moment when cold, dark winter slowly gives way to longer days. The sun seems to beam a little longer and brighter each day. Flowers begin to blossom through the frost, hinting us that it is time to plant new seeds and prepare for a new harvest.
In ancient Imbolc celebrations, the first milking of a Ewe was symbolically sacred and its milk, an elixir of fertility. It was ceremoniously offered to the goddess, and spilled on the fields, along with Bannock (oatcakes) and crumbles of seeded breads. It was an offering, that if appeased the Goddess, granted fertility, health and a good harvest for the coming year. Traditionally, typical Imbolc feasts include yeasty, sweet drinks like fruit wines, mead or wheat beer. Dishes with lots of dairy (namely butter and sheep or goat milk products ), seeded or herbed breads and oatcakes are served to bring good health , abundance and fertility to all who eat them. Veganising Imbolic is no easy task, but below I offer a dairy free alternative to shortbread sure enough to appease any god or goddess!
Lavender Vegan Short Bread
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and powdered sugar together.
Sprinkle the lavender petals into the softened vegan butter, add vanilla and mix with a stand or hand mixer on low-medium speed, until well blended. The dough should look crumbly and soft ( like wet sand) but should adhere together when squeezed in your hands.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on your countertop and sprinkle with a little flour, then form the dough into a ball and place in the middle of the parchment paper.
Sprinkle a little flour or powdered sugar onto the top of the dough to prevent sticking, then place another piece of parchment paper over the top of the dough, and evenly roll flat until the dough is about 1.25 cm thick. Cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes until all the dough is used and place on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the bottom is just slightly golden. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve & enjoy!
Biscuits Store in an airtight container for up to 5-6 days.
*Alternatively you can sub lemon essence for vanilla and add to the vegan butter for Lavender, lemon shortbreads.
I also like to glaze the biscuits after they are cooled. I use about one to 1 1/2 cup of sifted powdered sugar in a bowl, and slowly add in a bit of almond or oatmilk milk ( you can add a few drops of vanilla or lemon essence to the milk), and stir well until it creates a thick glaze ( like glue). Dip the cookies in the glaze or drop the glaze onto each cookie using a teaspoon. Sprinkle with a few lavender petals for garnish and allow about an hour or so to set.