Candied Flowers | How to Make Edible Sugared Pansies
I just love projects that require absolutely no skill; where I can go through the motions mindlessly while listening to my favorite tunes, the end result being none the worse for the lack of attention.
Making candied, sugared flowers to use as edible dessert toppers is one such easy project that combines the pseudo-talents of gardener, artist and chef. The best part is that no artistic qualifications are required to get this right. In fact, there is just no way that you can get this wrong.
Pansies, Violas, Johnny Jump-Ups and Virginia Bluebells are ideal edible flowers to crystallize and preserve in sugar. If you're like me and have a pot of cheery pansies and violas blooming in your garden, pick up your garden scissors and go out and clip off a bunch of these happy 'faces'.
After rinsing and gently drying the fresh flowers, put on your chef's apron and pick up your paintbrush and paint on a thin coat of egg white and Cointreau mixture onto a flower. I like using a little Cointreau to lace the flowers with a tinge of orange essence which helps mask the smell of egg.
Then, drizzle the flower with superfine crystalline sugar and allow it to dry for 24 hours or so. Voila! Edible Violas in pretty pastel shades that will keep for months until you are ready to use them as decorative cake or cookie toppers.
Here are a couple of ways I've used the sugared pansies to decorate my cakes. I drizzle on the icing and then attach the sugared pansies into the soft icing. The icing firms up in a few minutes securing the sugar flowers in place. Lemon Pound Cake
How to Make Sugared Flowers | Step-by-Step Instructions
You will need:
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau liqueur
- 1 cup superfine white sugar
- Edible flowers (pansies, violas, Johnny-jump-ups, Virginia bluebells, violets etc.) cut off with just enough stem under the head of the flower so that you can hold the flower by the stem.
- A paint brush or pastry brush.
- A wire rack or parchment paper to dry the flowers on.
Step 1: Prep the flowers
Clip off the heads of fresh, edible flowers such as pansies, violas, Johnny-Jump-Ups, Virginia Bluebells, violets etc. Retain a small portion of the flower stem as you will need to hold the stem while working to sugar the flowers. Be sure to select flowers that are pesticide-free.
Rinse the flowers with cold water. You may refrigerate the flowers uncovered in a bowl of water for a day or two until you are ready to use them. They will store well in the fridge.
When ready to use the flowers, lay them out on a sheet of paper towel to dry them out.
Step 2: Make the Cointreau egg wash
Lightly beat 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon of Cointreau in a bowl until lightly foamy.
Step 3. Brush the egg wash onto a flower
Holding the stem of a flower between your thumb and forefinger, using either a paint brush or a 1 inch wide pastry brush, brush a thin layer of the egg wash onto the flower, coating both sides of the petals.
Coating the flower goes quicker with a wide pastry brush than with a thin paintbrush. But, a thin paintbrush helps lift the individual petals up to give the flower a 3 dimensional versus a flat 2 dimensional look.
Step 4: Sprinkle flower with sugar
Continuing to hold the flower by its stem, sprinkle the flower with superfine crystalline sugar to coat both sides of the petals well.
Step 5: Allow to dry
Set the sugared flower out to dry on a wire rack or on parchment paper. Repeat with the entire process with the remaining flowers.
Leave the flowers undisturbed for 24 hours to 48 hours until the flowers completely dry out and become slightly brittle.
Once dry, gently lever the flowers off the drying rack or sheet. Store in an airtight container where they will keep for months until ready to use.