Lavender Love

Lavender Lemon Bread

“She does love lavender because it’s the color of transformation.”

~Felicity Huffman

 

 

It’s hard not to love a plant as lovely as lavender—its fresh calming scent immediately freshens and calms your very being. “Lavandula” has been grown for centuries in temperate areas as an ornamental and as an herb. It does really well in dry climates, which makes it a great addition in a garden, especially in a warming world.

 

 

 

 

Its properties are known to be beneficial with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic traits, and its extracts are not only good for adding a clean floral scent to cosmetics and toiletries, but it also seems to repel mosquitoes. Can you beat it?

My favorite use of lavender is culinary. Several years ago, I bought a bottle of culinary lavender at a farmers’ market, and I made wonderful things with it. I made several batches of shortbread and a few loaves of tea bread. Then I realized that I didn’t have enough to make on more thing, so I made a point of getting some more on my last trip to San Francisco… after all, I’m a “flower girl!” I was lucky, because I have a dear friend there who also loves to get creative with lavender, (she buys it in bulk) so she gave me a nice little tub full of it to take home with me. This is what I call a good friend!

As you can imagine, sometimes I get pretty bored here, with not a lot to do or places to go, so I cook something up that’s fun. I try to send a good chunk of it to work with hubby, but sometimes it comes out so good that we just gradually eat it up ourselves. That’s what happened with this recipe.

This is a tea bread that has a slight variation from the last time I made it—this time, it included poppy seeds. The last of the bottle of poppy seeds was begging to be used so it was a no brainer to make…

Lavender-Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread!

I really wanted to make Honey-Lavender Ice Cream, but since my freezer here doesn’t work so good, that one is just going to have to wait for a better day. But you’ll like this—it’s easy. Also in the process of making it, your kitchen will smell amazing, I promise! The recipe is at the end, but first, here’s a few pictures to get  you excited about it!

 

 

If you’d like to try to make it, here’s how:

Lavender-Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread

For the bread:

  • approximately 1 Tablespoon butter (for buttering the bread pan)
  • approximately ¼ cup flour (for dusting the bread pan)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons culinary lavender, ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup milk (I used fat-free and it was still good)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1  tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (plus a bit more for the glaze)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 oz butter, melted
  • 2 oz olive oil

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon culinary lavender

Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

In a small sauce pan, pour the milk and stir in the lavender buds—you want to make an infusion, and this in itself will make your kitchen smell wonderful. Heat the milk until just before boiling—yes, you’ll have to watch it! Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Butter the sides of a 6 cup loaf pan, then dust with flour.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Set aside.

Gently melt the butter (you don’t want it too hot—it melts quickly) and combine with the olive oil, then pour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix it up. Then add the cooled milk with the lavender, the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and stir until blended.

Add in the dry ingredients, folding until blended.

With a silicone spatula, scape the batter into the prepared pan. If you like, you can garnish the top of the loaf with some very thin slices of fresh lemon—it makes it pretty, even if you may be the only one who likes them. Make sure the batter is spread evenly before you do, though.

Bake for approximately 1 hour, checking for doneness with a toothpick. Mine needed another 1o minutes, but I don’t have the greatest oven, either. One fine day…

Meanwhile, while it’s baking, you can get the glaze ready.

First, I chopped and rubbed the lavender in a mortar and pestle (I also snipped them with kitchen shears and rubbed them again).

Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl or measuring cup, then blend with the confectioner’s sugar. Add in the lavender and watch them turn pink from the acid of the lemon juice. It’s a nature thing.

When the bread is done, allow it to cool for a couple of minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack or plate. The floured pan makes this easy enough. I don’t have cooling racks anymore for whatever reason, and my bread still turned out fine. While it’s still warm, drizzle the glaze over the bread. If you seem to have a lot, you can poke holes into the top of the bread with a toothpick and the glaze will go a bit deeper in. It’s a good thing. Then let it set for a bit.

Once you get to that point, you’re probably good to make yourself a cup of tea, because it’s just about good to go. Have a slice and enjoy the delicate flavor of flowers and lemon.

 

 

 

 

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