Lavender is one thing that epitomizes spring for me. I seem to buy bunches of lavender flowers every year, and this year I went all out and bought a whole plant! I also love a little bit of subtle lavender flavour in sweets, though if you go too overboard on the lavender, it can end up smelling like Grandma’s perfume. So go easy, and you’re in for a real treat.
Last month’s rhubarb list was such a hit that I’ve decided to make it a regular feature with different ingredients each month, so here are 13 unique things to do with lavender! I hope you’ll visit some of these great blogs and try out some of the delicious sounding recipes!
1. How magical and totally girly does this Lavender Lemonade from Sunday Suppers look? I can imagine this would be equally perfect for a casual spring picnic or a classy ladies brunch.
2. I can’t wait til winter to try this beautiful Lavender Hot Chocolate from A La Mode. The combination of quality chocolate, cream and lavender sounds so dreamy, and I’m in love with the gorgeous photos on this great blog!
3. If you like some booze with your lavender (I know I do!) this Lavender Whisky Sour from Martha Stewart Weddings would suit you (and me) down to the ground.
4. Another drink that I think would be perfect for the warmer months is this Blueberry Lavender Lemonade (with a splash of vodka for good measure!) from Cookie and Kate. I love that you can make it in individual glasses, or in a jug for a crowd. I’m definitely trying this recipe out before the summer is over!
5. This simple recipe for Lavender Scones from Country Days shows how versatile flavoured sugars can be! The combinations are endless, but lavender sugar is definitely a favourite of mine. Imagine how delicious these would be with homemade strawberry or rhubarb jam. Yum!
6. I absolutely loved these Honey and Lavender Cupcakes that I made, it’s a match made in heaven! With a generous slathering of cream cheese icing on top, you can’t get a more perfect or dainty spring-like cake.
7. Another great recipe from the archives that I just loved was this Honeyed Ricotta, Fig and Lavender Galette that I made last summer. The flavours worked so beautifully together, which made this a perfect afternoon treat, and it couldn’t be more simple to prepare. Perfect for those times when you’re feeling too lazy, err, busy to bake!
8. Lavender and honey are best friends, so I can imagine how lovely and floral this Lavender Honey Crème Caramel from Mélanger would taste! It is made all the more special as it was inspired by memories from her honeymoon to Tasmania. I love your blog, Julia!
9. Unfortunately there is no recipe with this one, but this Salted Caramel and Lavender Ice Cream from Margaret and Joy sounds delicious in theory, and the photos are absolutely stunning! I think this is one combination definitely worth testing out.
10. My friend Steph from Raspberri Cupcakes gave her ice cream maker a whirl for the very first time to make this gorgeous Lavender and Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream, which uses fresh lavender flowers for a more subtle flavour, and the swirls of raspberry are so pretty!
11. This Lavender, Honey and Pomegranate Panna Cotta from Desserts for Breakfast feels deliciously festive! I had never thought of putting Lavender and Pomegranate together before, but I think it would work really well, especially with the creamy panna cotta to balance it out.
12. If you’re thinking about giving homemade Christmas gifts this year, these Lavender Truffles from Tartelette would be perfect! Packaged up in a pretty box, I can’t imagine a more thoughtful gift for friends or family.
13. I mentioned before that I love lavender sugar and how versatile it is, but I had never used it for doughnuts before now. One of life’s simplest pleasures is a freshly made jam doughnut, so I decided to play around with that theme and came up with these Blueberry Jam Doughnuts rolled in Lavender Sugar. The recipe I used for the doughnuts was so simple, and would be great for first-time doughnut makers. It doesn’t contain yeast, which means no waiting for the dough to prove. You don’t even have to roll it out – just drop tablespoonfuls of dough into the hot oil, and as soon as they’re done, roll them in lavender sugar.
I have to mention this amazing jam too. It’s so good that I’ve been sneaking spoonfuls every time I go to the fridge. With blueberries being so cheap at the moment, I had been buying punnets upon punnets of them, and making jam is the perfect way to preserve them. I had initially meant to pipe the blueberry jam into the doughnuts themselves, but I had made the jam a little too chunky, oops! Nevermind, it was still totally delicious spooned on top of the still-warm doughnuts. If you prefer, you can use a store-bought version, or a different type of jam entirely – strawberry or rhubarb would work wonderfully I think!
Blueberry Jam Doughnuts with Lavender Sugar
Makes about 20 doughnuts
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 2 tablespoons dried lavender
Place sugar and lavender into a plastic container and seal tightly. Shake to combine. Allow to infuse at least overnight, but preferably for about a week.
Blueberry and Vanilla Jam (adapted from Taste)
• 4 punnets blueberries
• 2 cups raw caster sugar
• ¼ cup gin (optional)
• Juice of half a lemon
• 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Place blueberries, sugar, gin, lemon juice, vanilla seeds and bean into a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Use a large metal spoon to skim froth from the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often for 30-35 minutes. To test if the jam is ready, place a teaspoon of the ham onto a chilled saucer and place in the freezer for 1-2 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. If the surface of the jam wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it’s ready. Spoon hot jam into clean, sterilized jars and seal. Invert for 2 minutes and set aside to cool.
Jam Doughnut Drops (adapted from Home Beautiful)
• 2 cups self-raising flour
• ½ cup caster sugar
• 2 eggs
• ¾ cup milk
• 60g butter, melted
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Sift flour into a bowl and whisk in sugar. Whisk together eggs and milk, then add to the flour mixture with butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and set aside. Pour oil into a large saucepan or deep fryer until 6cm deep and place over medium heat. If using a saucepan, clip a candy thermometer to the side. When oil reaches 170°C (340°F) drop 3 separate tablespoons of batter into the oil and cook for 2 minutes, turning over once, until puffed and golden. Drain on paper towel. If the doughnuts are browning too quickly, adjust the temperature. Place lavender sugar into a shallow bowl and toss hot doughnuts in sugar to coat.
If your jam is not too chunky, like mine was, heat about ½ cup of jam until smooth and soft enough to pipe. Fit a small piping bag with a ½ cm plain tube and fill with jam. With the tip of a knife, make a small incision in each doughnut and pipe a little jam into the center of each. If jam is too chunky, spoon jam on top and serve warm.