Yesterday was my second herbal cooking class with Diann at Diann's Greenhouse ( http://www.diannsgreenhouse.com/ ). The subject this time was desserts and beverages. Himself was surprised that you could use herbs with desserts, and outside of the mints many people don’t associate herbs with sweets. But there are many that lend themselves to desserts… lavender, basil, bay, lemon balm and verbena – to name a few!
Diann always does a fantastic job with the classes. They are fun, informative and TASTY!
We were greeted as we arrived with a glass of fresh basil limeade. So good! It’s made mojito-style which is fun!
We discussed and sampled various brands of the new sweetener on the market. It’s made from the stevia plant. Each one is made a bit differently and tasted quite different too! A few I found quite bitter. My favorite was “Truvia”.
The classes are very informal; if you have questions you ask as the class goes along. It’s more like a bunch of girlfriends getting together and cooking up something good!
A bit later into the class Diann fixed us a cup of herbal tea.
And added a bit of fun to the tea with this unique way of sweetening it – Honey Lemon-Lavender Teaspoons. It’s basically a hard candy poured into a spoon and hardened. Then you stir your drink with it. Some of the ladies said they made great lollipops too!
Here is the table laden with all the desserts we learned about.
“Faerie Blossom Cookies”
These are made with lemon basil and lemon balm. SO good! Very much like a shortbread cookie.
“Lemon, Dill, and Pistachio Sharing Cookie”
You’ll recognize this from the dill class. I was happy to see it again!
“Citrus Almond-Basil Cake with Orange Sauce”
This was a gluten free recipe and very good. Moist and crumbly, it didn’t really need the sauce… but it sure was good with it.
“Mint Crème Brule”
She had me at ‘crème brule’ and this did not disappoint. I think I’m going to make these up for St Patrick’s Day next year.
“Herb Sticks with Pesto”
To balance out all the sweetness, Diann had these savory little crackers for us. Totally addictive!
I think Diann said there were lemon balm, mint and rose geranium in the plate. She also used them to garnish the other desserts.
“Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly”
Yes, that invasive “weed” can actually be used to make a very delicate jelly.
One of my favorites from the class. I think I could eat these every day for the rest of my life. There’s a new bread in my regular line-up!
After we all loaded up our plates, we sat and visited before we each left.
Diann sent us out with a take-home plate of samples. (Guess what I’m munching on as I write this?)
And here’s the recipe for the scrumptious biscuits:
(from “Edible Flowers” by Donna Frawley)
2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
2 Tbsp lavender flowers
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup buttermilk
Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Mix flour, lavender, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Cut in shortening thoroughly until mixture likes like meal. Stir in almost all of the buttermilk. If dough is not pliable, just add enough milk to make a soft, puffy, easy-to-roll dough.
Round up dough on a lightly floured cloth-covered board. Knead lightly 20 to 25 times.
Roll a little less than ½” thick. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter.
Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes about 2 dozen biscuits.