Friday, April 9, 2010
Shareholder Mark enjoying the fragrance of fresh chamomile
You can make a lovely tea from fresh chamomile flowers, but if you take the time to dry them, you can crush the flowers to a fine powder and add it to a variety of baked goods, conveying chamomile's subtle floral flavor with a hint of apple to your favorite cakes, cookies, or muffins.
It's easy to dry the flowers. Simply pull them off their stems. Compost the stems. Leave the flowers out to air dry for a couple of days, then store them in a glass jar or a paper bag.
To use chamomile in baked goods, it's best to pulverize the flowers. Use can do this in a mini food processor or a clean coffee grinder. You can also use a mortar and pestle. The flowers are soft and will crush easily when dry.
I added some pulverized chamomile flower powder to my favorite shortbread recipe to delightful results.
1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 C powdered (confectioner's) sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar, plus 1 T for sprinkling on top, if desired
1 t vanilla extract
1-1/2 C flour
1/4 t salt
3 T pulverized chamomile flower powder
1. Preheat oven to 300 Fahrenheit.
2. Cream butter with an electric mixer until fluffy and pale yellow.
3. Add 1/4 C powdered suger and 1/4 C granulated sugar. Continue beating until granulated sugar is completely incorporated and mixture is not gritty.
4. Beat in vanilla.
5. Sift together flour, salt, and pulverized chamomile flowers and add gradually to the butter mixture until just blended.
6. Using floured hands, press the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch square cookie pan. If desired, sprinkle top with 1 T granulated sugar.
7. Bake about 1 hour, until the edges of the shortbread are just slightly golden.
8. Remove from the oven and immediately cut into 3" x 1" strips. small triangles, or whatever shape you wish. Allow the shortbread to cool in the pan before removing the pieces.
You can use dried chamomile flowers in many recipes. However, chamomile's flavors are subtle, so pick recipes that have simple flavors, or substitute chamomile for other spices or flavorings. Try it in corn muffins or yellow cakes.