Mother’s Day Gift Idea: Flavored Sugars

infused sugar

I’ve first encountered flavored sugars at my local Lidl, and even though I consider myself a conscious consumer, the marketing totally worked. I mean let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want something called Deluxe Baked Apple Flavour Sugar? Especially on a dark and rainy fall afternoon.

Although I love this product, at one point I started thinking how difficult could it be to make something similar at home. A quick Pinterest search later I realized these fancy sugars are a hit! Bonus points for being inexpensive and virtually endless in variety.

Anything you’d use plain white sugar in/on can be spruced up with infused sugars: they are wonderful to have on hand for stirring into coffee, sprinkling over oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, cookies, even to garnish the rim of a cocktail glass. They take anything up a notch.

The technique for making infused sugars is so straightforward I wouldn’t even call it a recipe, pretty much like infused salts. You will need 4 parts plain ol’ granulated sugar, brown sugar or powdered sugar, plus 1 part flavor of your choosing. Let the sugar sit for at least one week to get optimal flavor.

Spices may be added ground or whole, or both for a pretty presentation (you can always strain the infused sugar into a separate bowl before using to flavor something where bigger particles are not welcome).

Store your creations in small airtight jars (I love these affordable ones from Ikea). My  vanilla-cinnamon sugar is kept in a sifter-shaker so it’s ready for a generous dusting whenever inspiration strikes, which is often.

Flavored sugars made with dry ingredients (like vanilla, cinnamon or culinary-grade lavender) last for months, while varieties with wet ingredients (like fresh mint leaves or citrus rind) have a shorter shelf life of a few weeks. Don’t forget to mark the date you made each batch on the container. Your infusion might clump up a little while drying, but a good shake helps break it up before using.

Consider creating a gift set for Mother’s Day with nice tags and suggestions to use. Have fun experimenting with interesting flavor combinations, and don’t forget to tell me about it!

Love,

Fruzsi

*Disclaimer: I like and use products mentioned in posts on My Chest of Wonders, what I write about such items represent my genuine and unbiased opinion. I am not being compensated through sponsorship, commissions or gifts. No affiliate links are included in this post.*

Advertisements

Friday Finds

Of all the beautiful, fresh produce August has to offer, today I chose juicy blackberries. And would you just look at these recipes! Not your average coffee cake or crumble for sure (I absolutely adore those, mind you). Thumbs up for the lovely ladies who came up with the clever pairings of such delightful flavors!

Blackberry Lavender Champagne Cocktail by Dani of The Adventure Bite:

blackberry lavender champagne cocktail

Lavender Earl Grey Ice Cream Floats by Sarah of Snixy Kitchen:

lavender earl gray blackberry ice cream floats

Blackberry-Thyme Jam and Whipped Goat Cheese Filled Donuts by Lauren of For The Love Of Lasagna:

blackberry thime jam goat cheese donuts

Blackberry Soufflé via Waitrose:

blackberry souffle

Blackberry Sage Sorbet by Nguyet of Taming of the Spoon:

blackberry sage sorbet

Happy Weekend!

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

It always seems to me as if the lavender was a little woman in a green dress, with a lavender bonnet and a white kerchief. She’s one of those strong, sweet, wholesome people, who always rest you, and her sweetness lingers long after she goes away.

– Myrtle Reed

It’s almost that time of year again, prepare for the purple haze!

A good read, image via Pinterest

book and lavender

Windowsill, photo by Jonny Lindh:

lavander in windowsill

Wedding favors, floral design by Twig and Petals, photo by Pictilio:

lavander wedding favors

Lovely details, floral design by White Ribbon Boutique Events, photo by Yiannis Alefantou:

napkin with lavander

Honey Lavender Macarons by Megan of Hint of Vanilla:

honey lavander macarons

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

Honey-sweet May, when the birds come back, and the flowers come out, and the air is full of the sunrise scents and songs of the dawning year.

Samuel Scoville Jr.

Rattan is back via Domino:

peonies on rattan chair

Find your passion:

Roald Dahl quote

Soft and luxurious decor via Style Me Pretty Living:

blush throw blanket on chair

Blush tablescape by Colin Cowie Weddings:

blush napkin tablescape

Roasted peach and lavender ice cream photo by Helene via Flickr:

lavender ice cream

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Herb Infused Honey

herb infused honey titleGot the first whiff of fall at my neck of the woods which means I need to adjust my thinking about grabbing a jacket on my way out. This transitional time of year always has an ancestral effect on my psyche, like I need to collect and save stuff because you know, winter is coming. It’s funny how this instinct kicks in even though we live in a world where everything is available, always.

With cooler nights and days slowly but surely shortening, our morning rituals change as well. We stopped drinking tea around May, but know the demand is back. A pot of steaming goodness with a little honey and a few drops of lemon juice, accompanied by a purring furball in each of our laps. Talk about comfy.

As for honey, we don’t buy from the supermarket any more but are getting it by the bucket straight from a honey farmer. You should find a reputable local beekeeper close by too since it’s virtually impossible to know the source of honey on the shelves (remember the headlines of contaminated, illegally labeled Chinese products…). Honey is a classic example of the expression you get what you pay for and can get quite pricey, so buy in bulk.

Purchasing from the source not only helps keep local farmers in business, but it’s actually honey. From actual bees. Moreover, while most commercial honeys are pasteurized and ultra-filtered, honey farmers sell raw, unheated products that have retained all the nutritional benefits.

If you don’t like honey that crystallized over time, you can gently heat it in a water bath to dissolve, or you can divide a big batch to smaller portions and freeze, which will not harm the enzymes.

Crystallization isn’t an indication that the honey has gone bad, in fact, honey doesn’t have an expiration date. BTW honey that tends to solidify quickly has a high amount of pollen, which many mass-market manufacturers extract during the filtering process to make their product more visually appealing. What a waste!

Honey is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and actively promotes the healing of tissues. Add the health benefits of herbs to the equation, and you have yourself a wonder-worker: apart from being insanely delicious, herbal honey may also be used medicinally (taken internally or used externally as well).

Sore throat? Sage honey. Toothache? Clove honey. Minor burns? Chamomile honey, and the list goes on. Enjoy straight from the spoon, in tea, lemonade, drizzled over desserts, fresh fruit, ice cream, oatmeal, on toast with butter, or even in salad dressings.

Rosemary, sage, thyme, mint, lemon balm, lavender, elderflower, chamomile and nettle all make lovely infused honey. You can also use spices like vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger or star anise.

dried sage

Create single-herb infusions or figure out blends for your liking. Equal parts lavender, chamomile, lemon balm and nutmeg for instance makes a lovely concoction to help you fall asleep easy. The rule of thumb is 1 part herbs to 3 parts honey, but it’s not an exact science, freely adjust to taste and experiment. Like, I use less lavender than the aforementioned amount because it can get a little overwhelming.

dried lavender buds

Food safety: the typical pH value of honey ranges between 3.4 and 6.1 so it’s acidic enough. To make sure you prevent the outgrowth of C. botulinum spores, herbs should be dry. Use clean glass jars with tight-fitting lids. Herbal honey should keep indefinitely if you store it out of direct sunlight.

lavender infused honey

herb infused honey labeled

I made this tiny jar as a hostess gift with home grown lavender. You guessed, that is my handwriting. 🙂 I love these inexpensive kraft paper labels that I ordered at AliExpress, my favorite source for craft supplies. The basic recipe for infused honey is as follows:

Herb Infused Honey

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

mildly flavored raw honey

dried herbs

Directions

  1. Fill jar about ¼ of the way with dry herbs.
  2. Pour honey over herbs, close jar tightly.
  3. Let infuse for a few weeks, but at least 5 days. Herbs may rise to the top and absorb some of the honey.
  4. Strain honey into a clean jar, and make a big pot of tea right away with the leftover herbs.

Fruzsi

*Disclaimer: I like and use the products mentioned in posts on My Chest of Wonders. What I write about such items represent my genuine and unbiased opinion, I am not being compensated in any way through sponsorship or gifts.*

Photo featured in title image © KMNPhoto

Homemade Lavender Syrup

homemade-lavender-syrup-title

The end of June marked the beginning of lavender season and the shrubs at my parents’ were ready for harvest. Bees and butterflies were not pleased when Sis and I picked the spikes, but would you just look at these!

homemade-lavender-syrup-shrubs

I’ve also planted lavender along our driveway this spring, they seem to like their place. Even though it’s just their first season, they are full of flowers. We live a stone’s throw from my parents, but our plants start flowering a little later.

Anyway, the purple buds have been drying on the purpose-built screens and since we were getting very high temperatures lately, they were ready to be shredded from the stems in a matter of days. It took us girls some time and wine to finish, but the scent! Moths in the county went extinct that’s for sure.

homemade-lavender-syrup-screen

The last few years we used to make bouquets, wands, and fill pouches with the flowers. Lovely as they were, making them was getting boring so we started looking for new ways to utilize the yield. One idea I particularly like is lavender syrup. Because summer is the time for endless pitchers of cold, refreshing lemonade, and adding a twist to a classic is very on-trend lately. Turned out that lemon and lavender are a match made in heaven: it takes the drink to a whole new level!

homemade-lavender-syrup-shade

I was weary using lavender in a drink at first to be honest, for I could only associate it with beauty products before, but this syrup turned out so convincing that this season I’m flavoring other foods with the lilac buds as well. I have infused jams, honey, sugar and seasoning salts in mind, I’ll let you know how the experimenting goes.

Back to the matter at hand: making lavender syrup is easy peasy. I’ve shared syrup basics before so without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Lavender Syrup

Ingredients

1 l water
1 kg sugar
15 g (3/4 cup) dried lavender flowers
10 g (2 tsp) citric acid

Directions

  1. Make 1:1 simple syrup, turn heat off.
  2. Add lavender flowers in a mesh bag and let soak overnight to infuse. Liquid will turn inky blue.
  3. Remove lavender and add citric acid (this will transform color to rosé).
  4. Bring to a boil, then pour into sterilized jars and seal hot to form high vacuum.
Makes 1,5 l syrup. Although it should not be necessary, I’d keep in the fridge after opening. Syrup has a decent shelf life.

Do you have lavender in your garden or on your patio? What do you do with the flowers? Flash out those ideas for me!

Also, have you noticed the recipe format? I am trying to improve my shortcoding and decided on embedding recipes with consistent formatting and an option to print from now on to make the experience better for you!

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

Farewell, spring, you were all so wonderful! I am caught up in the excitement of what the summer has in store for us. Let’s see this week’s treasures:

This staircase in the South of France photographed by Didier Massé:

160527-friday-finds-garden

As David Ogilvy, Father of Advertising said:

160527-friday-finds-motivation

This fireplace filled with candles by Sarah Gibson over at Room for Tuesday:

160527-friday-finds-fireplace

Vodka pear lavender lemonade, don’t mind if I do! Recipe by Ashley Rose of Sugar & Clothe:

160527-friday-finds-lemonade

The table setting of a modern minimalist beach wedding in Florida, photographed by Lauren Kinsey:

160527-friday-finds-tablescape

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi