Flowers don’t just smell good, but taste good too!

Spring has officially sprung and flowers are freshly blooming — adding an array of color to a once rainy and dreary town. But, did you know that flowers are not just a lovely sight or gift, and a large selection are edible? In this article, we will be exploring recipes that incorporate a whole new level to spring — having flowers carefully selected to add to the culinary experience. When cooking with flowers, it is best to use some from your own garden or purchase culinary jars to avoid the possibility ingesting pesticides.

Earl Grey Cake with Lavender Buttercream

(source: plumdeluxe.com)

Batter:
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup honey
½ cup brown sugar
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strongly brewed earl grey tea
½ cup fresh orange juice

Buttercream: 
¾ cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp dried and minced lavender
1-2 tsp milk (if needed)

First, you must preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, grease a 9’’ pan generously. Use a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl. After mixing, add honey, vegetable oil, brown and white sugar, eggs, vanilla, tea and orange juice to the mixer. Use the lowest speed on the stand mixer to ensure the batter is thick and without lumps. Spoon the batter into the pan and place inside the oven. It will take around 60-75 minutes to bake.

While waiting for the cake to bake inside the oven, prepare the lavender buttercream. Remove lavender petals from the stem and mince them well. Begin mixing butter while slowly adding powdered sugar and lavender. While mixing scrap the sides of the bowl. Continue until the mixture becomes fluffy and peaked, milk can be added slowly to the mixture if frosting seems too thick. Once the cake is completely cooled, you can frost it as desired.

Candied Rose Petals
(source: https://leitesculinaria.com/)

1 rose bloom
1 large egg white
½ cup superfine sugar

Carefully pluck rose petals and rinse them gently under water, making sure not to bruise them. Place them on a paper towel and leave them until completely dried. Next, grab a wire cooling rack and place it on a cookie sheet. Crack an egg into a small bowl, whisking it with a fork. In another bowl, dump the superfine sugar. Use a soft bristle paint brush to gently paint the rose petals with egg whites, or alternatively, dip the petal into the egg mixture whilst turning it to allow any extra residue to drop off. 

Next place the egg-coated rose petals into the bowl of sugar, turning to allow it to be coated evenly. Feel free to sprinkle on extra sugar to make sure the petals are coated completely. Space the candied rose petals on the wire rack and leave them out for an hour or until they are dried and hardened. Be sure to eat or use them the same day as they become softened and wet if they are left too long.

Pansy Topped Shortbread
(source: theviewfromthegreatisland.com and jocooks.com)

1 handful of pansy blooms
1 ½ cups of salted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Next, add butter to a large bowl and use a stand mixer at medium speed to blend until smooth. Then, add the powdered sugar, mixing until it is well combined and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Turn the stand mixer down to low speed and add flour. Combine until the mixture is crumbled and soft. 

Next, let’s work on the flowers. Carefully remove the pansy from its stem before placing between two sheets of parchment paper using books to weigh and flatten them down. Let them press for about 30 minutes.

Now, line an ungreased cookie sheet with a separate piece of parchment paper, patting or rolling the mixture from the bowl until it is spread evenly through the pan. It should be about ¼ inch in thickness. Place the cookie sheet into the oven to cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until it reaches a lightly golden color — do not let them become brown. As you pull the cookie sheet out of the oven, gently begin pressing the flowers into the cookies while they are hot. The heat will bond the flowers to the surface. Cut into shapes desired.

Lilac Donuts
(source: adamantkitchen.com)

Batter:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup lilac blossoms

Glaze:
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 small pinch salt
1 or 2 tbsp milk
¼ cup lilac blossoms

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees then grease a donut pan and set it aside. Prepare the lilac blossoms by washing them if necessary, then gently remove individual flowers from the stem, removing all green parts of the flower. Whisk the sugar, baking powder and salt together, then add the egg, coconut oil, milk and vanilla extract to the bowl. Stir to blend ingredients together but try to avoid overmixing. Next, either spoon batter carefully into the pan or grab a Ziploc with a cut corner to use as a piping bag to fill the cavities of the pan. Fill each cavity about ¾ full, this will allow you to make about six donuts in a standard size pan. Once you are done filling the pan, place it inside the oven for about 8-10 minutes. 

While the donuts are cooling down, you can start on the glaze. Grab a medium sized bowl and add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and begin whisking them together. Next add a tablespoon of milk and whisk, you may add milk overtime to adjust the consistency. Once the donuts have completely cooled off, dip them inside the glaze. Place each of the dipping donuts onto a wiring rack and sprinkle lilac on top of them, gently press the flowers to ensure they stick. Let the glaze sit for about 5-10 minutes and then they are ready to serve!

Fruit and Flower Salad
(source: vegetariantimes.com)

½ of a cantaloupe, cubed
1 cup fresh pineapple cubes
½  pint fresh raspberries
½  pint fresh blackberries
1 banana, peeled and sliced thin
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 mango, peeled and cubed
4 oz. part-skim swiss cheese, diced
2 tbsp rose water
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
4 tbsp mango chutney
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
About 1 cup edible flowers

First combine the fruits and cheese into the bowl, sprinkling it with rose water and then tossing. Next, blend the yogurt and chutney separately then pour it over the salad. Toss again if desired. Spoon portions onto plates and garnish with almonds and flowers. While this recipe calls for any edible flowers, I recommend poppy, hibiscus or pansy.

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