Flavors of the World: Florals


Fantastic Floral Favorites!

Happy Thursday dear readers!! Today my humble offering is another Flavors of the World segment by Chef Nicholas! Chef Nicholas has a very refined, sophisticated palette, and he just loves floral flavors. I’ll also be sharing two delicious recipes developed by the man himself- Vanilla Lavender Shortbread Cookies and Rose and Pink Champagne cupcakes! But enough about me; I’ll let Chef Nicholas share his floral story with you.


Lavender is my all time favorite floral flavor. Lavender comes in many varieties, and the best for culinary and pastry uses are the English angustifolia, munstead, and French lavender from Provence. These types of lavender are popular due to their sweet flavor and small flowers, called buds.

I use fresh lavender, when it is in season, to infuse cream for brûlées, ganaches, and ice cream. I also like to add it to strawberry jam, or to make lavender jam! It also pairs nicely with lemon, so I often add it to my Meyer lemon curd. Lavender infused sugar is perfect for sifting over lavender shortbread cookies or for rimming cocktail and lemonade glasses, which I fill with my lavender infused vodka martinis! Can you tell how much I love lavender? I am pleased to share my recipe for Vanilla Lavender Shortbread cookies: Vanilla-Lavender-Shortbread-Cookies.pdf. I hope it inspires a love for lavender in you too!

If fresh lavender isn’t available, dried culinary lavender can be substituted with the same results (as long as you remember to halve the amount!). When buying dried lavender, be sure that it is culinary grade lavender, which is grown organically without pesticides. A lot of lavender is sold for sachets and potpourri and is not for use in food or cooking. When using dried lavender, it is important to note that it is stronger than fresh, so only about half the amount is needed. Lavender is also available in compound form. This type of flavoring is best when it is impractical or impossible to use the lavender buds. I use the Amoretti lavender compound when I flavor rolled fondant, buttercream, and fillings. Pure lavender extract is available and is suitable for flavoring cakes, cookies, and buttercream. I prefer to use the Silver Cloud Estates brand of pure lavender extract.


Rose flavoring is another favorite of mine. It is used in many Middle Eastern and Indian desserts, cookies, and drinks; Turkish Delights are often rose flavored. I use Nielsen-Massey rose water, Amoretti rose compound, or Silver Cloud Estates pure rose extract. The compound and extract are more concentrated than the rose water, but all three can be used in a rose and pink champagne cake, rose buttercream, rose and crème fraîche ice cream, or rose marshmallows!

Fresh, organic rose petals can be used to make rose petal jelly and jam, and used as a filling or as a glaze. Petals can be crystalized by brushing them with pasteurized egg whites, sprinkling with superfine sugar, and drying in a food dehydrator. Crystalized rose petals are beautiful as decorations on cupcakes and cakes.

If you haven’t yet tried using rose as a flavoring in your baking, do try my Rose and Champagne cupcake recipe: Rose-and-Pink-Champagne-Cupcakes.pdf. The rose flavor is delicate and subtle, not at all overpowering. I really do think you will enjoy the elegance of these cupcakes! Fancy and flavorful!

Other Florals

There are so many floral flavorings that can be used in cooking. Orange Flower water, like rose water, is very popular in the Middle East. It can be used to flavor marshmallows, whipped cream, or glazes. Nielsen-Massey makes excellent Orange Flower water. Other floral flavors that I have used include lemon verbena (for ice cream and panna cotta), Jasmine (for infusing cream for pot du crème, panna cotta, and tapioca), rose geranium (for cakes and fillings), elderflower (for ice creams and custards), and French violets (for cakes and crystallizing for decorations). Edible flowers, such as violas and pansies, are usually crystallized and used in pastry and cake as garnishes. The floral flavoring possibilities are near endless!

Let’s all give Chef Nicholas a big round of applause for another great installment of the Flavors of the World! The recipes that we have included may seem familiar; Chef Nicholas originally created both recipes for Pastry Live last year, and I shared them on the blog back in August. If you haven’t yet tried the recipes, PLEASE DO! Both the cupcakes and the cookies are absolutely delicious. I am a big fan of rose flavors, but was a bit dubious about how the lavender cookie would taste. Big mistake, because the flavor was spectaular! Of course, ISAC carries all the extracts, flavorings, flowers, and rose water necessary to make both of the recipes- no need to worry about where to find the special specialty items!

Sweetly yours,


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One Comment

  1. Interesting read. Thank you for sharing. I am always a fan of yours.

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