By now you probably know that, along with the aromatic floral notes it lends to soaps and lotions, lavender is also sought out for its sleep-inducing and stress-reducing (and menopause symptom-relieving) qualities.
But, did you know that it can also be used to add complexity and dimension to ordinary recipes? Well, you do now!
There’s such a thing as culinary lavender, and it’s a slightly sweeter variety than what is commonly used in fragrances. Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, is what you’ll be looking for when considering cooking with lavender, and these tips and ideas will help you make the most of this delightfully different ingredient.
Used whole, though often preferably crushed or ground, lavender buds elevate homemade spice blends, such as Herbs de Provence and Ras el Hanout—a flavorful mix used in Moroccan dishes. For a summer (or anytime) quencher, try Cucumber Lavender Infused Water or Lavender Lemonade.
It can also be used to make a flavored sugar that can then be incorporated in a variety of ways. Some folks even like to substitute dried, crumbled lavender when rosemary is called for, creating a unique twist on a popular standby.
How many recipes do you have that use vanilla extract? What would happen if you replaced it with lavender extract? Exciting things, my friend. Exciting things. Lavender complements foods such as strawberries, apricots, lemons, honey (more on that in a sec), cherries, and chocolate, to name a few.
Just remember, it tends to pack a bit more of a punch than vanilla, so cut the amount in half when swapping. You can always add a bit more if you desire a more overt flavor, but do so incrementally so it doesn’t overpower.
Refreshing, Raw Honey
Like lavender extract and infused sugar, lavender honey can be used in place of standard ingredients, with subtle yet delicious results. It’s perfect mixed in cold and hot tea and it’s one of the main ingredients in our popular Gummy Kit & Kaboodle.
Now, if you really want to get creative, you can try all three together. Here’s a favorite recipe using our Culinary Gift Trio:
makes about 48 cookies
⅔ cup melted unsalted butter
¼ cup lavender-infused honey
1 cup white sugar
½ tsp lavender extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
Turbinado sugar, for rolling
2 Tbsp dried culinary lavender buds
- Beat the melted butter, honey, and sugar until smooth.
- Beat in the egg and lavender extract until well blended, then fold in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Shape 1-Tbsp sized pieces of dough into balls. Flatten them and roll both sides in the coarse-grained sugar.
- Sprinkle the tops with lavender buds, lightly pressing them in.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 minutes or until crispy and light brown.
- Let them set for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.