I love a bit of foraging for wild food, but at this time of the year, pickings are slim. It's very nearly time for the Wild Garlic to come out in our wood, but for now I'm contenting myself with beautiful and edible wild violets. They began to bloom very early this year - I spotted some at New Year, and if you look under hedges and in open areas of woodland, you should be able to spot some. There may even be some growing in your lawn.
It's a beautiful spring flower, powerfully scented and associated with romance and love and they were favoured by the Victorians, often given to sweethearts in little posies.
These biscuits have a delicate floral flavour - don't worry they don't smell of old ladies!
First, you will need to make some violet infused sugar. I like to use this not only in the cookie dough, but also for the candied flowers which adorn the top so I pick in two batches, getting fresh ones for the candied petals, given that they don't last too long once picked.
You can use any basic biscuit recipe, and roll them out and make pretty shapes with cutters, or go for the more rustic approach as I've done here.
Remember to thoroughly wash and dry your flower stems before making your flavoured sugar.
To make the infused sugar:
- 4 oz white caster sugar
- Approx 10-15 flower heads
- Airtight jar or pot
Layer in an airtight container with the sugar ensuring all the petals are covered.
Leave for approximately 3-4 days.
To make the cookies:
- 2 oz violet sugar
- 4 oz soft butter
- 6 oz plain white flour
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.
Add all your ingredients in a bowl and mix (I use an electric whisk). You'll end up with a crumbly mixture a bit like crumble topping.
With your hands, scoop out a small amount and work into a ball, squeezing and firming - you want balls about the size of ping pong balls.
Lay on a baking sheet covered with non-stick paper and gently flatten out with your palm. This recipe makes approximately 12 cookies.
Bake for around 25 minutes until golden brown and allow to cool on a wire rack.
To make the crystallised flowers:
- 2 oz violet sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- violet flowers on stems (enough for each cookie)
Keep back a couple of tablespoons of sugar for dusting your flowers, but put the rest in a pan along with the water and heat until the sugar dissolves and makes a syrup.
Holding the stem, dip each flower into the syrup and then spoon flavoured sugar over.
Leave to set firm on some greaseproof paper.
When dry, cut off the stems using scissors.
To make the icing:
- Violet petals
- Icing sugar
- A little boiling water
Use your reserved petals from the flavoured sugar making, and in a glass add a teaspoon or two of boiling water. Leave for 20-30 minutes until the colour has leeched from the petals.
Now use this coloured water to make up your icing in the normal way.
Decorate your cookies with the icing and candied flowers. Of course, you could use the flavoured sugar, coloured icing and candied flowers just as well in a delicate sponge cake instead of biscuits if you prefer.
These cookies were shared as part of a Spring Crafts Google Hangout. You can see the video below and check the links for more lovely spring crafts:
Red Ted Art: Five little ducks pebbles; Seed bombs; Egg Cress Heads, Plant Markers; Loo Roll Sheep
Kids Chaos: Daffodil Cookie Pops; Painted Pebbles, Newspaper Roses
Zing Zing Tree: Pipecleaner Daffodils and Flower Box; Pipe Cleaner Snowdrops; Paper Bottle Top Flowers; Paper Cone Squirrel
Domestic Goddesque: Tissue Paper Butterfly mosaic; Pinwheel Flower Decoration; Cork Ladybird Fridge Magnet
Me: Egg Carton Daffodils; Plantable seed shapes; April Showers Necklace / Sun Catcher; Egg Seed Bombs.