When Baking With Lavender, A Little Goes A Long Way

Known for its soothing fragrance and beautiful purple hue, lavender is not just for lotions and soaps anymore. Bakers have embraced this herb, using it to add a special touch to cakes, cookies, and breads. However, when it comes to baking with lavender, there's a golden rule to follow: a little goes a long way. Used correctly, this herb can infuse your baked goods with a unique, aromatic flavor that's both comforting and sophisticated. But it's easy to overdo it. Too much lavender can quickly overpower your dish, leaving it tasting more like soap or perfume than a culinary delight.

The key to using lavender in baking is moderation. This herb is potent, with a strong flavor that's floral and slightly sweet, with hints of mint and rosemary. Because of its intensity, you only need a small amount to impart its distinctive taste. For a better understanding, think of lavender as a spice, not a main ingredient. Just as you wouldn't add a cup of cinnamon to your recipe, you shouldn't add a cup of lavender. Instead, start with a teaspoon or even just a pinch, depending on the recipe size. You can always add more, but you can't take it away once it's mixed in.

How to bake with lavender: tips and suggestions

Baking with lavender requires a bit of know-how to get it just right. First and foremost, use culinary lavender. This variety is specifically grown to be used in food and has a sweeter, more subtle taste than the ornamental kinds. When incorporating lavender into your recipes, it's best to start small. If a recipe doesn't specify, begin with a teaspoon or less and adjust according to your taste preferences in future bakes.

To incorporate lavender into your recipes, you can use it in its dried form or infuse it into liquids like milk, cream, or syrup, which you can then add to your recipe. One effective way to infuse the herb's flavor into your baking is by creating a lavender sugar. Simply blend together granulated sugar and dried lavender buds in a food processor. This mixture can then be used in your recipes, offering a subtle way to add the herb's aromatic qualities to your baked goods.

Another tip is to pair lavender with flavors that complement its floral notes. Lemon, honey, and vanilla are all excellent choices that work well with lavender's unique profile. Lastly, remember that when incorporating lavender into your bakes, finding the perfect balance might take a few tries, but it's all part of the joy of cooking. With a gentle hand and a bit of patience, this purple herb can become your secret ingredient that keeps everyone guessing.