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Candied flower petals are a beautiful way to decorate a cake, add flare to cookies, or merely to display on a dish. They may alternately be called crystallized flower petals, and the principal recipes you will see for these almost invariably use rose petals. Actually you can use petals of any small edible flowers, and a few flowers can be candied entirely, like nasturtiums. Most flowers will taste very much like they smell; thus candied flowers made from roses have a distinct rose taste.
When choosing flowers for candied flower petals, you do have to keep a couple things in mind. First, your flowers should be free of any insects or bruising. They won’t look pretty when bruised and you don’t want to present your guests with candied aphids or ants. Also, many people treat their flowers regularly with pesticides. These should be avoided. Instead look for organic flowers, particularly in the produce section, for candied flower petals.
Making candied flower petals is simple. You merely wash the petals, allow them to dry and them dip them in a beaten egg white. They are then dipped in sugar and dried overnight. This crystallizes the sugar, resulting in a hardened petal. You do use raw egg whites for this recipe, so there is a slight risk of giving guests salmonella when you prepare these. For this reason, you should use pasteurized eggs, which will not harbor the bacteria.
This is largely unnecessary if you’re planning on serving candied flower petals as decoration only. If you really want to go wild and decorate a cake with candied flowers, you might instead make flowers out of frosting to add to a cake. Many people feel the risk of salmonella is extremely minimal and aren’t concerned one way or the other with egg white precautions. If you have immune deficiencies though, you might want to avoid candied flower petals or make sure the ones you eat are made with pasteurized eggs.
There are a number of edible flowers you can try for candied flower petals. These include:
You should avoid especially poisonous flowers like foxglove (digitalis), oleander, most lilies, crocuses, and morning glory. Even if you only intend these flowers for decoration, they might still be viewed as food with tragic results. Only make candied flower petals from flowers you know to be free of pesticide treatment and completely safe to eat.
My aunt makes wedding cakes, and she often uses candied flowers to create some breathtaking designs. I've watched her make them, and it doesn't look too difficult. She just dissolves meringue powder in water, brushes it on the flowers, sprinklers them with sugar and allows them to dry.
You have to plan ahead if you want to use candied flowers because it takes a couple of days for them to dry. Be careful to make sure your flowers are edible and haven't been treated with any chemicals before using them.
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