Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The secret ingredient is.... Lavender!

If you've never tried cooking with lavender, I highly recommend it. I'm still discovering new ways to use it. I've made lavender shortbread cookies and lavender tea cake, lavender lemonade and lavender-infused cocktails. The flavor pairs nicely with blueberries and lemon. Our lavender is blooming for the second time this summer and Michigan blueberries are in season.

My favorite lavender-inspired treat begins with a blueberry buckle recipe courtesy of Alton Brown. Alton is a huge fan of using a kitchen scale to measure ingredients, so the recipe is a bit fussy. He goes so far as to tell you the precise temperature the softened sick of butter needs to be before blending it with the sugar (60 degrees, if you're curious). Don't worry, the recipe is much more forgiving than Alton makes it seem. Guests arrived after I blended the butter and sugar, and in the middle of incorporating the flour. The batter sat for 30 minutes before I could put it in the oven, but it turned out perfectly.

The changes I made to the recipe include:

  • Adding the buds and flowers from 8-10 sprigs of lavender to the batter when I stirred in the blueberries. The easiest way to "chop" the lavender is by using kitchen shears to snip off the flowers directly into the batter.
  • Adding most of the zest of 1 large lemon to the batter. I saved about 1/4 of the zest to add to the crumble topping.
  • Omitting the nutmeg and ginger from the recipe. I love these spices, but I wasn't sure if they'd taste right with the lemon and lavender.
My next experiment will be blueberry lavender gooey butter cake with a lemon crust :-)

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