Have you ever eaten a flower?
You might be surprised to know how many varieties provide an easy way to add interest, flavor, and beauty to your entrees and baked goods. When you visit our field during you-pick hours this summer, you’ll find a special section of edible herbs and flowers for you to enjoy with all five senses: see their stunning forms and colors, listen to the wind tousle the plants, run your hands over leaves and petals to release their lovely fragrances, and try new flavors that may surprise and delight you!
While pansies won’t be showing their sunny faces in the heat of summer, they could be a great addition to a spring salad, cookie, or cake. Here is a recipe for pansy shortbread cookies. I’ve adapted it from Ina Garten’s shortbread recipe to make it extra special, and since I wasn’t able to purchase large pansies that hadn’t been treated with pesticides, I picked some wild violets — they’re in the same family as pansies, just a bit more petite — from my own back yard.
pansy shortbread cookies
1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg white
pansy flowers, washed + patted dry
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until just combined. Add vanilla and incorporate. In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the butter and sugar and mix on low speed until dough starts to form. Turn the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350*. While the dough is still in the plastic wrap, roll it out to 1/2″ thickness. Open the plastic wrap and use a round cookie cutter (about 1 1/2″ in diameter) to cut cookies and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 22 minutes until the edges are just starting to take on color. Remove from the oven and brush each cookie with egg white solution (egg white mixed with 1 Tbsp. water), then gently press flower(s) onto each cookie and sprinkle with sugar. Return to oven for 1-2 minutes, watching for browning.