Spring is in the air and with flowers everywhere in full bloom it's hard to resist picking them all! We'd all agree those gorgeous blossoms are stunning additions to any garden or bud vase, but have you ever thought about incorporating these intoxicating scents into tasty treats straight from your kitchen?
I love the idea of baking with flowers; they add such a delicate and sophisticated layer to even the simplest of sweets. Two of my warm-weather favorites are rose and lavender, both deliciously fragrant and well suited for baking. Not only does each have an incredible depth of flavor, essential oils responsible for their heady aromas have some pretty amazing medicinal benefits. Rose is chock-full of antioxidants as well as Vitamins A, C and E while the soothing effects of lavender have been shown to help lower blood pressure and regulate digestion. In order to reap the full benefit of each flower's medicinal properties it's best to use a mix of food grade essential oils and dried herbs/flowers-- you'd literally have to eat one hundred rose petals to get the same punch as one drop of rose water.
There are so many ways to work floral notes into desserts, but my all time favorite vehicle is butter and at Eat Sweets Pastry we're all about rich, buttery shortbread. With only four simple ingredients to contend with, the warm floral notes of Spring will shine right through and add a wonderful sweetness and depth to the cookie. Bite into one, take a nice hot sip of tea and let your thoughts drift. You'll have a smile ear to ear, promise.
Rose Shortbread 1C Butter 2C AP Flour 1/2 C Confectioners Sugar Pinch Sea Salt 1/8 tsp Rose Water Dried Roses
Cream butter until light and fluffy, add rose water and beat for ten seconds. Add confectioners sugar, mix until well blended. Add AP Flour, rose petals and salt, mixing until dough comes together. Turn onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/2" thickness. Cut out and chill for at least an hour before baking @350 until edges start to brown. Dip in white chocolate and garnish with rose petals.
*Alt Recipe: To make lavender shortbread, simply substitute food grade lavender oil for the rose water. Before baking, top with crystal sugar and dried lavender flowers.
Story and Recipe // Megan Driscoll of Eat Sweets Pastry