I found myself living in the countryside again, and the timing could not have been more perfect. The summer is about to begin, preceded by a beautiful (although surprisingly cold) spring. Nature is in full bloom, berries are calmly ripening, and so are the tomatoes. Wildflowers exploded on the buzzing meadows, and it proved very difficult to ignore their alluring beauty. Edible flowers may not be the most flavourful of ingredients (although some of them are), but they are just so pretty, aren’t they?
I always liked cornflowers, but it wasn’t until this year when I finally tried eating them. My Babcia told me a story of a beverage her Mum used to make out of cornflowers, and this was when I found out they are edible. The beverage is a slightly fermented one, made by mixing cornflowers, water and sugar and leaving it in the direct sunlight to become fizzy (and boozy, for the matter of fact). My Nan remembers it as bitter, and not particularly appealing, butI am yet to try it.
For now, a recipe for buttery shortbread biscuits with cornflower petals and a sprinkle of sugar. If they don’t say ‘summer is here’, what does? Happy baking!
Shortbread Biscuits with Cornflower Petals
for the cookies
250g butter, room temperature
130g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
380g flour plus extra for dusting
cornflower (or other edible flower) petals
fine white sugar
HOW TO MAKE?
1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with your electric mixer, until fluffy and almost white. Add icing sugar and beat for a bit longer, until nice and smooth. Mix in the egg yolk (with a bit of flour) and vanilla extract.
2. Prepare a pastry board. Add the flour onto it and then the mixture from the bowl. Knead the pastry quickly. It’ll be very soft and a bit sticky but try not to add too much flour (the biscuits will turn out too hard if do).
3. When the pastry is ready, wrap it into cling film and put in the fridge for about an hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line baking trays with parchment.
5. Place the chilled pastry on flour-dusted pastry board. Roll it out to about 3mm thick. Cut out the circles using a cookie cutter or a glass (I used a cognac one).
6. Brush each biscuit with some beaten egg white, arrange the flower petals and sprinkle with sugar. Line your biscuits on the previously lined baking trays. Bake for about 7-8 minutes, they should only be slightly golden.
7. Move the biscuits to a wire rack to let them cool.