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Candied Violets


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I am going to be decorating (very, very simply) the cakes for my best friend's wedding shower next weekend. I'll be getting 2 carrot cakes from the bakery and as the theme is purple (purple potato salad and mixed berry lemonade are some other things we'll be eating), I was thinking some candied violets would be nice on them.

I've never tried them before, but I'm not really worried. I've done rose petals this way, so I think I've got it down:

1) Whisk an egg white til light and slightly foamy.

2) Brush washed and dried violet blossoms with a light coat of the egg white.

3) Put the blossom into a bowl of granulated sugar and coat thoroughly, shake off the excess.

4) Lay flat on a parchment lined cookie sheet til dry.

Does this sound right? Should I use superfine sugar, or will regular granulated work? The main thing I'm worried about is how far in advance I can make them. The shower is on Saturday, and I'll have time to make them either Tuesday or Saturday morning. Tuesday would be preferable; can I do store them for 4 days? If so, how? I know I've seen then in tins and little plastic bags. Do they just need to be in an airtight dry container?

One last thing: My back up flower is lavender if my violet source doesn't come through (she was worried that the last cold snap might have damaged them beyond repair. I won't know til Monday night). Can I do the same thing with them? I think the candied lavender I've tasted was boiled in a sugar syrup. It was almost a light hard candy consistency.

I think that's it for my questions for now. I'll let you geniuses get to work! :smile:

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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Definitely use superfine - regular granulated will result in too thick a layer and hide too much of the color.

And don't make your own by whizzing sugar in a blender - it will produce too much dull dust - you want very fine uniform grains of sparkly sugar.

If you're using real violets (isn't their season over?) - use a little violet paste in the sugar to keep the color intense, like this:


If you are using pansies - and if they are multicolor - you'll have to forgo any artificial coloring, and you'll need to be careful to brush the white on very lightly, to prevent too thick a coating of sugar which masks the color:


Don't shake the flower, instead hold it tight and give your hand a good whack on the side of your bowl; this works better (for me anyway) to get rid of the excess sugar.

Don't lay them on bare parchment - the petals are now heavy and will fall from the center - instead pour out a little layer of sugar, and scoop out a little bed to hold the flower in its' original shape to dry.

I store them in tins on a sprinkling of sugar to absorb any lingering moisture.

Keep them out of the light! They will fade to a dirty white in no time (ask me how I know this).

I've candied a few lavender tips which were very pretty but not at all palatable - so intense I spit them out. Boiling them in syrup would dilute the oils and I suppose result in a true 'candied' flower, whereas what I am doing is merely crystallizing them...

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