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    Lemon and Fennel Seed Shortbread

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    Lemon and Fennel Seed Shortbread

    Fennel and lemon make a lovely combination, and while experimenting with different shortbreads recently, I tried this one. Fennel seeds are quite powerful, so we only put a small amount in the mix, then sprinkle a few on top for decoration. Serve with a lemon granita or some crème fraîche ice cream

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling
    • Cooking time: 15 minutes to 20 minutes
    • Total time: 40 to 45 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling 45 minutes

    Makes: 30 - 35


    • 50g Caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
    • 100g Unsalted butter, softened
    • 150g Plain flour
    • 1 Unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest
    • ½ tsp Fennel seeds, toasted


    1. Put the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Sieve the flour with a pinch of salt and mix with the butter and sugar. Using your hands, gently knead in the lemon zest and the fennel seeds to form a soft dough. Shape into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 2 hours.
    2. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3. Lightly flour the working surface and roll out the dough to about 5mm thick. You may find it helpful to roll it out under a sheet of clingfilm as it is a very dry, fragile mixture. If you do this, peel it off before using a 4cm cookie cutter to stamp out 30 discs. Gather together the scraps, reroll the dough and stamp out any more discs you can. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little caster sugar. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until pale golden. Remove the shortbread rounds from the oven, leave on the tray for 2 minutes, then slide onto a wire rack. They will become crisp on cooling. When cool, store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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    Drinks recommendation

    A light and fragrant coffee such as one of the finest of all Ethiopian mochas, would be best with this aromatic shortbread.


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