Nothing says spring like fresh flowers. So, why not use them to adorn freshly baked cookies or cake for Mother’s Day?
Flowers have been incorporated into recipes from around the world for centuries, from chrysanthemum tea cakes in China, to orange blossom water in the middle east, to candied rose petals and violets in France. In more recent times, recipes featuring flowers have had their popularity renewed as Instagrammers incorporate them into fancy drinks, colourful salads and desserts. One of the most influential bakers has been Loria Stern, celebrated for using a variety of vibrant flowers in pressed cookies.
Pressing and baking with flowers is simple to do at home, and their elegant nod to nature is sure to impress the most important woman in your life. Follow the recipe below and learn how to make them.
What you’ll need
Fresh edible flowers-rose petals, calendula petals, violets, borage, nasturtium, and pansies all work great for this. My personal favorite to use are pansies because the flowers are naturally flat, easy to grow at home, and have a light peppermint flavour. Note: Make sure your flowers have not been treated with pesticides or other chemicals.
Pick your favourite rolled shortbread recipe. Shortbread is a great base because it has a flat surface and the butteriness helps the flowers stick. You can also play with different colors and flavors, such as this matcha shortbread recipe or this earl grey shortbread.
Simple syrup (optional). This can be used to adhere the pressed flowers to the cookies. If you like you can use a flavored simple syrup such as lavender or violet.
Once you’ve gathered a collection of your favourite flowers, give them a light rinse to get rid of any bugs, dirt, or dust. Gently pat them dry.
If you have a flower press, great! Use it. Otherwise, arrange and gently flatten your flowers on a sheet of printer paper, parchment paper, or smooth coffee filters. Paper towel or toilet paper is okay, but many are textured which may leave an imprint on your flowers.
Sandwich the flowers between the two sheets of paper and press them between two flat, heavy objects. I like to use large books, but ceramic tiles, wooden planks, or bricks can also be used.
Once pressed, give the flowers some time to dry–at least an hour. When dried, the flowers can keep for ages, although we recommend using them sooner rather than later. Leftover flowers can be kept for your next baking project.
Applying to the cookie
Once the flowers have been pressed, bake your favourite rolled shortbread cookies according to instructions. Once they’re fresh out of the oven, the dried flowers can be gently applied onto the warm cookies. Be careful, since the dried flowers will be delicate and can break easily. Since shortbread has a high butter content, the oils on the surface of the cookie will serve as a light adhesive for the flowers.
Otherwise, you can wait until the cookies have cooled and use a paintbrush to gently apply a thin layer of simple syrup to the flowers and press them onto the cookie.
Voila! A simple and beautiful gift for Mother’s Day.