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Lilac Flower Scones & Lilac Glaze

By Crystal Baldwin

Lilacs usher in spring with their soft purple colors and delicate, but fleeting, fragrance. They remind us that a new season has started, full of promise and ethereal fragrance. I get so excited this time of year awaiting the tight buds to spring open!  Living at 8100 feet means its a long wait for those amazing flowers and I am ready to soak them up in every way!

Every day I bring in a bouquet of lilacs once they start blooming until they are gone, which isn't long.  They are so delicate and beautiful, but so short lived.  Lilacs do not contain any oil, which makes their essence impossible to distill.  This is why you never see a true lilac essential oil. So how do you hold on to those beautiful blossoms?  You eat them!

Yes, lilacs (which are from the olive family - Oleaceae ) are edible.  Not only are lilacs beautiful and tasty in desserts, but they are also good for you. Just like many other edible flowers, lilacs contain carotenoids (pigments found in plants) and in lilacs you will find lutein, in a highly specific, rare form that is found in flowers but not in very many other foods. 

Lutein has been linked to improve eye health and specifically it reduces the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.  It appears there may be another reason we are so attracted to the beautiful colors of flowers!  So sprinkle those lilac flowers over your salads, add them to sparkling water and decorate a cake with them- eat up and enjoy the flavor of spring!

Just like their scent, the flavor that lilacs produce is also very delicate.  One of my favorite ways to capture the delicate flavor of lilacs is with a syrup.  Once you have a syrup you can create amazing, delicious desserts, cocktails, and even preserve them in the freezer or as a cordial.  You see, you can hold onto the scent of spring.

With lilac syrup you can create all sorts of magical goodies. From frostings, jelly and cocktails to cakes, whipped creams, scones and gelato!  Today we will be using the lovely flowers in our scones and use the syrup to create a purple lilac glaze to drizzle on top.  Keep the leftover glaze for blueberry muffins or pancakes.  

Now you can use your lilacs in more than one way.  So, look at their beauty, Inhale their fragrance, sprinkle on your waffles and lift a glass with a lilac cocktail and toast to spring!  Marvel at nature's gift of both beauty & health.

 

Lilac Flower Scones & Lilac Glaze

For Scones

  • 3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling 
  • ¼ Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 Tbs. salted butter, chilled or frozen
  • 1 cup full-fat buttermilk, well shaken
  • 2 ½ cups of lilac blossoms
  • Lilac Glaze for topping
  • ½ Cup toasted Chopped Almonds (optional)

 Directions

Preheat oven to 425° /Process Lilacs, see directions below under Lilac Glaze

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  1. Cut butter into small bits, dropping them into the flour mixture as you go.  Work butter and flour together with fingers, until butter is about pea-sized at its largest.
  1. Add 1 ½ Cups lilac blossoms, removed from the stems (no green part), see directions below under lilac glaze for how to process
  1. Give buttermilk a good shake, then pour into the flour-butter mixture, and fold together until you can pull the dough into a rough ball (mix as little as possible).  Place back in fridge and chill dough mixture.
  1. Dust surface with clean flour and roll out to a half inch of thickness. 
  1. Cut into triangles and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and greased, sprinkle with almonds & coarse sugar
  1. Bake until golden at the edges, around 12-16 minutes.
  1. Remove and let cool then drizzle with lilac glaze.  Pairs wonderfully with lemon curd.

*Note- these can be prepared and then you can freeze the dough.  Pull out one at a time and bake when you are ready to eat.  Make as above, then cut, into triangles and wrap in parchment paper.  Layer in a freezer bag and freeze them.  Remove from the freezer, thaw just a few minutes and then pre-heat the oven and bake @ 450°, cool slightly and apply glaze then serve.

For Lilac Glaze

For the lilac glaze you must first make a lilac syrup and then mix with powdered sugar.  Start by making your lilac syrup.  Follow directions below.                            

  • 1 Cup Lilac Blossoms (no leaves or green parts)
  • 1 Cup Organic Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • ½ to 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • Few frozen blueberries for color (optional)

Directions

  1. Pick lilacs and let them sit so bugs can crawl away
  2. Pick or cut the flowers from the stems into a mesh strainer
  3. Be sure to remove all green leaves, stems or other particles to avoid bitterness- keep  the flowers only
  4. Rinse the flowers under cool water to remove debris and pollen
  5. Strain the flowers and set aside
  6. Bring 1 cup of water almost to a boil and add sugar, stir till dissolved
  7. Add lilac blossoms & blueberries & stir bringing mixture back to a boil
  8. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes with lid slightly open
  9. Turn off heat and press blueberries with the back of a spoon to release more color from the blueberries
  10. Cover, allow syrup to cool to room temperature (or overnight)
  11. Strain out lilacs and blueberries, Jar and refrigerate

Mixing the Lilac Glaze

Follow directions above but allow syrup to cool just slightly, keeping it a little warm.  Place into a Pyrex pitcher or something you can pour with. Sift in the powdered sugar stirring and mixing. Drizzle the glaze over the lilac scones (when scones are warm but not too hot) and if desired sprinkle toasted crushed almonds over top.   Serve slightly warm with lemon curd on the side.

To make a Honey Lilac Syrup

If you want to make a lilac syrup without sugar and use honey instead, follow directions below.  Be sure not to heat the honey to avoid destroying the wonderful nutrients.  Instead add honey to the warm lilac water once it has cooled slightly and stir the honey until it is dissolved.

  • Follow the recipe above but leave out the sugar
  • Once the lilacs and blueberries have simmered, cover for a few hours or overnight to allow all the flavors to infuse
  • Strain out the plant material and heat until warm enough to melt the honey but not boiling (to avoid destroying nutrients in honey)
  • Add 1 cup of honey to the warm lilac water, and stir to dissolve
  • Continue on to make the lilac glaze or store in a glass container
  • Note- Lilac syrup will keep in the fridge for 1-2 months. To keep longer, pour into ice cube trays and freeze.  Store in a freezer proof bag and remove and melt as needed.
BONUS - You can also turn your syrup into a cordial to preserve it and make it last longer.  The best way to do this is to add 1 part syrup to 2 parts alcohol (1:2 ratio) So, if you have 1 cup syrup you would add 2 cups alcohol.  If you have 1/2 Cup of syrup you would add 1 Cup alcohol.  Lilacs are a delicate flavor so use vodka or another neutral tasting alcohol as to not dilute the lilac flavor.

How to use your Lilac Syrup

 

Mocktails

  • Lilac with seltzer water
  • Lilac lemon fizz- add lemons & seltzer water
  • Lilac Berry Sparkler - add crushed & whole berries, plus seltzer

Cocktails   

  • Lilac Gin Fizz                                                  
  • Lilac Lemon Martini.        
  • Lilac Moscow Mule
  • Lilac French 75

Desserts

  • Drizzle over ice cream
  • Make gelato or ice cream
  • Turn syrup into jelly
  • Blend into whipped cream or whipped yogurt
  • Use in buttercream frosting
  • Mix with berries and chill, serve with a dollop of lilac whipped cream



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