Nature’s candy: How to make flower confections
There's a much better way to satisfy a sweet tooth than with a chocolate bar. People have actually been eating flowers for centuries, but in recent years, it has become popular to candy the petals for an even more delicious treat. Not only are these sparkling, sugar-coated confections incredibly succulent, but they are also beautiful, making them an ideal garnish for a wedding cake or other extravagant dessert. The best part is the candy process preserves the petals, so you can enjoy them for a month or more. Not sure where to begin? Check out Teleflora’s edible flowers guide then just follow these tips and get snacking:
What petals and ingredients you'll need
There are a variety of blooms that you can use, so it all depends on your tastes. The Los Angeles Times explained that pansies and violas are popular choices, as their flavor resembles that of grapes. Daisies, chrysanthemums, geraniums, lilacs, lavender, marigolds and violets are all edible as well. If you're going for a savory-sweet contrast, try peppery nasturtiums. Martha Stewart magazine also recommended utilizing chamomile flowers, Johnny-jump-ups or roses. The options are essentially endless, but be sure to opt for pesticide-free edible blossoms to avoid any risks of toxicity.
There are a few other tools you'll need to gather as well, many of which you likely have lying around the house. Martha Stewart advised collecting:
- a pair of scissors
- a small paintbrush
- superfine sugar
- pasteurized liquid egg whites
- a baking tray and waxed paper.
The candy process
- First, Martha Stewart explained you'll need to cut the stem off the flowers.
- Use a few tablespoons of water to dilute the liquid egg whites, and then apply the mixture with a small paintbrush, completely coating the surface of the blossom. The Los Angeles Times noted that you could also use a spray bottle to ensure the solution is evenly distributed.
- Next, dust the sugar over the entire bloom. One way to help the flower maintain its pigment as it dries out, according to the Los Angeles Times, is to add a few drops of food coloring to the sugar first.
- After shaking the flower to eliminate excess sugar, carefully lay the flower on a tray lined with wax paper.
- The key to making sure the sugar crystallizes and hardens is to leave the blossoms in a dry place that's room temperature.
- Martha Stewart pointed out that it's important to continually turn them to make sure no moisture builds up beneath them.
- After two to four days, the flowers should be crisp and ready to be eaten.
- Layer them on wax paper in an airtight container to make them last.
What to do with your candied flora
The possibilities are endless when it comes to using your candied flora. Cheerful candied daisies look darling on a vanilla cupcake, while candied nasturtiums lend themselves to a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. A honey-coated Bundt cake, on the other hand, tastes divine with candied lavender. Try incorporating violets into a batch of dark chocolate truffles to cut the bitterness. You could also add candied chive blossoms to corn muffins for an unexpected onion-like sweetness.
There are plenty of other ideas as well. For a more sophisticated take on marshmallows, add candied lilacs and vanilla seeds. You can make simple sugar cookies more interesting by topping them with subtly sweet chamomile blossoms.
Don't forget ice cream – candied blooms can take a boring flavor to a whole new level.
Or, if you want to enjoy your floral treats in a different way, you could also add them to your beverages. Candied hibiscus, for example, lends sweetness to a hot cup of tea, while lilacs make for a uniquely refreshing lemonade.