Yesterday marked the Autumn Equinox, officially the first day of Autumn. The cold, crisp weather certainly got the memo, arriving all of a sudden and prompting a craving for warming flavours, Autumnal spice and comfort cooking. This fennel seed shortbread is rich and buttery with a sweet, aniseed note. I adore fennel in all forms, and if you do too then I urge you to try this Meera Sodha recipe! They’re so simple to whip up – knead the dough, chill, roll, then bake as a one before slicing into biscuit shapes. Delicious for Autumn afternoon tea on a sunny September Sunday. To make them, you will need:
350g plain flour
125g caster sugar
250g cold unsalted butter
1.5 tablespoons of fennel seeds.
Sift the flour into a bowl. Use your fingers to lightly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and fennel seeds, then bring the dough together into a ball, kneading lightly. Wrap the ball in cling film and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160C/ 140C Fan.
The dough will be firm but malleable when you remove it from the fridge. Lay it on a sheet of grease proof paper and work out, slowly, using the palm of your hand. Then roll out to 2cm (or thinner if you like!) and place on an oven tray.
Bake for 25 minutes – it should be pale. Lightly sprinkle a handful of sugar on the biscuits when hot, the sugar will stick then. Cut into rectangular biscuits and allow to cool.
Serve with a pot of tea. The biscuits will keep for a few days in an airtight container, but they do get a little soft as the days go on.
What are you baking this weekend?