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crystallized-flower recipe

Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 14:54:28 -0700
 From: "Lisa T. Bennett" (lbennett@coe.uga.edu)
 Here's the vegan method for candying flowers and mint leaves.  Notice
 that it takes several days from start to finish (but only a little bit
 of YOUR time/attention).
 CRYSTALLIZED FLOWERS (from _Cake Decorating_ by Judy Kelsey, with
 modifications suggested by Martha Stewart, who uses egg whites to do this)
 25 g/ 1 oz gum arabic crystals (or powder)
 60 ml/4 tbsp rosewater
 superfine sugar (castor sugar)
 fresh edible (unsprayed) flowers** or leaves
 wax or silicone paper
 small paintbrush
 small screwtop jar
 1) Place the gum arabic and the rosewater in a screwtop jar and leave for
 two or three days for the gum arabic to dissolve.  When the crystals have
 dissolved, the mixture will look like thin honey (viscous and pale gold).
 2)  Prepare a shallow bowl filled with superfine sugar (which is much
 finer than regular granulated sugar and looks prettier on the flowers).
 3)  Cover a tray with waxed paper or silicone paper.
 4)  Hold a flower (or leaf) by its stem and very carefully paint it with
 the gum arabic mixture.  Don't coat it too heavily.  Paint both sides.
 5)  Hold the wet flower over the bowl of sugar and (using a teaspoon)
 sprinkle it evenly with sugar.  Turn it over and do the back side, too.
 6)  Shake off the excess sugar (tap your hand on the side of the bowl) and
 then place the coated flower on the wax- or silicone-paper-covered tray.
 7)  Leave to dry for 3-4 days.  I leave mine in my gas oven.  With the
 pilot light's warmth, they are usually ready in a couple of days.  BE
 CAREFUL if you do this.  I foolishly pre-heated my oven without thinking
 and blackened a batch of lovely pansies and johnny-jump-ups.  :-(  Now I
 tape a sign on the oven control to remind me that I have "FLOWERS IN
 8)  After the flowers or leaves are dry, clip off their stems and place
 them in an airtight container.  I use a shallow Rubbermaid container and
 put layers of waxed paper in between the layers of flowers. 
 9) Stored away from light and heat, these are supposed to stay usable and
 retain their color for a year.  I have only kept them for a couple of
 months, so I can't say from experience.  They are VERY FRAGILE, however,
 so be careful not to drop them or the container they are stored in.
 These look absolutely wonderful on a frosted cake, but they can be served
 as little (fat-free) treats on their own with a nice cup of tea or coffee. 
 Depending on what type of flower you use, they can either taste like a
 very exotic perfume, or like  little sugar candies.  Mint leaves are
 fantastic this way!! 
 **Some edible flowers suitable for candying include pansies,
 johnny-jump-ups (viola tricolor), violets, primroses, and dianthus.  Many
 people candy rose petals, too, but I haven't had any luck with these
 looking good.  
 Other edible flowers for other purposes (salads, etc) are daylilles
 (buds, flowers, and tubers), marigold (calendula officinalis only!),
 nasturiums, sunflowers, and zucchini flowers.
 kwvegan vegan