Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lavender-Lemon Bread

Lavender’s calming, cooling properties are baked right into this sweet treat.

A slice of lavender-lemon bread is the perfect companion for that evening cup of tea. Photo by Mars Vilaubi
Lavender is one of my favorite plants. Its clean scent, deep purple bee-attracting flowers, and ability to soothe make it a beloved presence in my garden and home. 

Along with lavender, Amy Jirsa’s book, Herbal Goddess, has come to occupy a significant place in my house. Not only is it responsible for introducing me (an herbal newbie) to the spirit-calming wonders of holy basil and rose, it serves as a creative reminder that I don’t have to limit my daily dose of beneficial herbs to lotions, salves, tinctures, and teas (though those are all wonderful things). Many herbs naturally lend themselves to use in delicious food and drink, and I’ve come love lavender as a cooking ingredient. A little bit goes a long way in terms of flavor, and its easy pairing with the brightness of lemon makes for a great summer treat. Finally, whether you cook with lavender or not, lavender essential oil is the perfect burn-soother to have within reach of a hot stove. According to Amy, a few drops rubbed on the skin will kill burn pain on contact.

So if you’ve been harvesting and drying lavender from your garden, remember to save some for the kitchen. Try the dried flowers in recipes like this bud-studded lavender-lemon bread. — Emily Spiegelman, Digital Features Editor

Lavender-Lemon Bread

I love dessert breads — pumpkin, lemon, zucchini, whatever. You can combine many different flavors in these breads, but lemon and lavender? Heaven. And in this case, it’s okay to take lavender essential oil internally because we’re using such a small amount as a flavor additive, not in medicinal quantity. It’s totally safe at this level. Promise.

Yield: Makes 1 loaf

Bread ingredients:
6 tablespoons vegan shortening
1 cup lavender-infused sugar (recipe follows)
2 eggs, beaten, or vegan alternative
¼ teaspoon orange extract/flavoring
⅛ teaspoon lemon extract/flavoring
2 drops lavender essential oil
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of powdered cloves
½ cup milk of choice
Grated rind from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup lavender-infused sugar

Bread directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and flour a 5x9-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, orange extract, lemon extract, lemon rind, and lavender essential oil. Add to the shortening and sugar mixture.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the salt and cloves and mix well. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat well. Add the milk and mix again.
  5. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread stand in the pan for 5 minutes before adding the sauce.
  6. To make the glaze, combine the lemon juice and lavender-infused sugar in a small bowl and mix together. Slowly pour it over the loaf. Let the bread stay in the pan until all of the glaze is absorbed (trust me — it’s much cleaner this way). When it’s cool, de-pan the loaf and wrap it in parchment and a clean dishcloth. Let it age at room temp for 24 to 36 hours before cutting. Served with cinnamon tea, this is truly magical.

Lavender-Infused Sugar

Yield: Makes about 2 cups

Sugar ingredients:
⅓ cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups organic sugar (white or brown)

Sugar directions:
Add the flowers to the bottom of a clean 1-quart mason jar (there will be space in the jar — no worries; you want room for shaking). Cover the sugar and shake. Let this stand for at least 2 weeks in a cool, dry place. Shake the jar and contents daily.

Recipes excerpted from Herbal Goddess © 2015 by Amy Jirsa. All rights reserved.

No comments: