Lavender is a blessed easy plant to grow and maintain (coming from someone who is a notoriously bad gardener). It's a nice addition to summertime drinks and treats, as it lends a mildly sweet lavender infusion. If you don't grow your own, you can use organic culinary lavender to insure it has not been exposed to pesticides. Culinary lavender can be found online or in some specialty grocery stores. I love this organic French brand, and one little bag will last a long time!
3 easy ways to enjoy lavender:
1. Add to lemonade or iced tea for a refreshing floral tinged beverage.
2. Fold into chocolate desserts: cupcakes, brownies or cookies.
3. Steep lavender with chamomile and honey for a soothing tea using a tea infuser, like a traditional simple one or "mana-tea" version like this guy:
I created this recipe a couple years ago for a pregnant friend that loves lavender, and since it resulted in such a delicate treat, naturally I had to share.
This is an easy recipe that takes a little time, but it's worth it. It yields 12 giant fudge-y brownies or 24 little ones. The lavender is a nice combination with the chocolate, and not too overwhelming (a trick to baking with lavender is not to go overboard; you don't want it to remind you of perfume or soap!) It's a nice way to infuse a little summer taste into a traditionally rich dessert.
Gluten-Free Vegan Lavender Brownies
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender blossoms
8 oz. semisweet or dark nondairy chocolate chips
6 tablespoons nondairy butter (I used raw coconut butter)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chia meal (ground chia seeds)
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/3 cup coconut milk (or any nondairy milk)
4 oz. semisweet or dark nondairy chocolate chips
Double boilers make your life way easier when melting chocolate: use a pan like this atop a pot of water, whisking as the hot water below melts the chocolate in the pan.
1. Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper and spritz with non stick spray.
2. In a food processor or blender, mix sugar with 1 teaspoon lavender; set aside.
3. Whisk 1/2 teaspoon lavender into the coconut milk, and then stir in the chia meal. Set aside to thick and form chia "eggs". (Whole chia seeds work fine, but ground up ones to form a meal is better).
4. Over a double boiler or in a microwaveable bowl, heat the chocolate chips and nondairy butter until melted. Stir in the salt and vanilla, followed by the chia coconut milk mixture, whisking well.
5. Stir in the coconut milk, gluten-free flour and pour into the prepared pan, and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.
6. Let cool on a wire rack while you prepare the ganache.
7. Heat the 1/3 cup coconut milk with the 4 oz of chocolate and whisk well. Let cool slightly before spreading over the pan. Sprinkle with additional lavender blossoms and sugar if desired.
8. Let cool and then slice into 12-16 brownies.