When I speak with others about my edible garden, most assume that means I only grow fruits and vegetables. On the contrary, I have several types edible flowers in my garden during any given season. Many people have no clue what I could use them for. Some assume I just make tea with them, and others know that many flowers a great for embellishing salads. But one of my favorite uses for edible flowers is making sweet treats.
Last spring I successfully experimented in adding culinary lavender to ice cream. Over the winter I made some lovely lavender jelly as Christmas gifts for my clients. This spring my attentions turned to the gorgeous pansies growing in a hidden corner of my backyard. They would be beautiful used to dress up a salad, or possibly a cake. But I decided to see what they could do for cookies.
Now, my all-time favorite cookie has always been the shortbread cookie with its simple, yet rich buttery flavor. I couldn’t leave well enough alone this time, though. Since I knew pansies really don’t have much taste I decided to add just the tiniest bit of lavender (can you tell I love lavender?) to the cookie dough. I believe these are the prettiest cookies I have ever made. And definitely one of the tastiest. Baking with edible flowers was definitely a hit this time!
Note: the key to cooking with lavender is to make sure you use the culinary variety. Others do not taste good!
Pansy Cookies with Lavender
1/4 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling on top)
a pinch of dried culinary lavender
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg white
about 16 pansies from your pesticide-free organic garden.
Stir lavender into sugar and let sit for several hours (or several days) to allow the lavender to flavor the sugar. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir flour into sugar, add vanilla, then cut in butter. With your hands, work the dough into a ball. Roll out to about 1/4″ – 3/8″ and cut with cookie cutter. Use a cookie cutter just a little larger than your pansies. Place on nonstick cookie sheet and bake about 25 minutes. Do not let top brown. Cool thoroughly. While cookies are cooling, rinse pansies, trim stems and pat dry. Using a pastry brush, brush cookie with egg white set pansy on top and gently press pedals down, using more egg white as needed. Then coat the entire top of flower and sprinkle with sugar and place back on cookie sheet. Once all the cookies are finished, put them back in the oven for about 5 minutes to dry the egg white. Store in single layer.