Saturday, May 07, 2011

Lavender brownies

lavender brownies

When I think of my mom, I often think of chocolate and lavender. So when I came across a few recipes for chocolate lavender brownies, naturally I had to make her a batch.

Mom loves all things chocolate, and her house always smells like fresh lavender. While she has quite the green thumb, I’m not sure that she’s ever grown it, though lavender is becoming quite a popular Texas plant—especially in the Hill Country. I also don’t know if my mom’s ever cooked with lavender. But for Christmas she gave me a tin filled with culinary lavender, and I wanted to put it to good use.

lavender

A few years ago, someone shared with me a dark chocolate bar that was flavored with lavender. The combination of bittersweet chocolate and floral lavender was unexpected yet welcome, like the appearance of the first blossoms on the trees in spring.

When cooking with lavender, I do find that a little bit goes a long way, and for some it may be a bit of an acquired taste. But the herb’s piney, slightly peppery notes are a perfect match for rich, deep chocolate.

For this recipe, I took my basic brownie recipe—which is a fudgy brownie with a thin, crisp topping—and simply added a smidge of lavender. A light sprinkle of flaked sea salt on top of the brownies added even more contrast to the rich, sweet treat. While brownies are good at any time, there’s something about the lavender that makes these especially perfect for spring.

lavender brownies

Spring also means it’s time to honor our mothers, and I feel especially fortunate to have such a terrific mom. See, I haven’t always been the easiest daughter but my mom has always been patient with me. And I want to thank her for always encouraging me to be independent and to follow my dreams. She’s always been a tireless cheerleader, no matter if I’ve failed or succeeded.

So, mom—I just wanted to let you know that you’re the best and I love you! And yes, the brownies are in the mail. I hope you enjoy them and a very happy Mother’s Day!

Lavender brownies
Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried lavender
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan.

In a food processor, pulse the sugar and lavender together until well combined.

In a saucepan, on low heat melt the chocolate and butter, while occasionally stirring. Once melted, turn off the heat and stir in the lavender sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Add the eggs until well combined, and then stir in the flour and walnuts, mixing until a smooth, thick batter is formed.

Spoon the batter into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Immediately after removing the brownies from the oven, sprinkle the top with the flaked sea salt. Allow to completely cool for at least an hour before slicing.

Yield: 16 servings

Note: Culinary lavender can be found in the spice section at the grocery store, at specialty markets or at the farmers' market.

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44 comments:

Victoria (The District Chocoholic) said...

I adore lavender and chocolate together. These look lovely.

Rashda said...

Never thought of using lavender in my cooking, but the combination with chocolate sounds lovely! What a great tribute to your mom :)

Kalyn said...

Enjoy your mom while you still have her! I've never cooked with lavender but I just planted some in my garden!

Michelle Stiles said...

What a sweet treat for mom! Lavender is an incredibly hardy plant and seems like it would thrive in the sun of Texas. She should treat herself to a few bushes that will grow and provide a bounty of beautiful lavender.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

There is a local baker here in San Francisco who makes lavender shortbread w/ sea salt, but I've never tried lavender with chocolate. These brownies look like an excellent start. Thank you!

SeattleDee said...

While I've enjoyed lavender in cookies it never occurred to me to pair it with chocolate. Your brownies sound very tempting.

Sarah said...

These look so good. I've never thought about lavender in brownies. I have a most delicious recipe for lemon lavender rice pudding that is just smells so heavenly while it's cooking. These must fill the house with such an amazing scent as well.

Lisa's mom said...

This may be the best Mother's Day card/gift ever!!!!!
Thank you, Lisa. By the way, I do have several lavender plants in pots in the back yard. I may need to research culinary lavender.
Lots of love, Your mom.

Bella said...

Dagoba Chocolates out of Portland, OR makes a divine dark chocolate and lavender bar that also has dried blueberries in it. Delicious!

Another REALLY good use for lavender is in teas. Empress Grey tea is Earl Grey tea with rose petals and lavender added after the tea and bergamot are blended.

The Fashionable Traveler said...

These sound delicious. I've had a carrot soup with Lavender that was just perfect. And the first time I ever thought about eating lavender was when I had Nigella Lawson's Lavender Cupcakes at Harvey Nichol's in London. I can't wait to try your brownies :)

Winnie said...

Mmmm...these sound fantastic!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Victoria--Isn't it a wonderful combination?

Rashda--You should try it!

Kalyn--Oh, I can't wait to hear what you do with it!

Michelle--It does very well in Texas, even though it's not native.

Denise--I love the sound of that shortbread!

SeattleDee--It's not an obvious combination, but it is deliciuos.

Sarah--Lavender and lemon go very well together so I reckon that pudding is amazing. And yes, these brownies made my apartment smell wonderful.

Mom--I had no idea! Just save the flowers and you can cook with them.

Bella--Blueberries, too? That I need to try!

The Fashionable Traveler--Wow--I've never thought of pairing lavender with carrot.

Nisrine M. said...

Never attempted lavender with chocolate but it can only be good. Enjoy your time with your mom.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Nisrine--If you enjoy lavender, it is indeed good!

Tejana Mama said...

My step-mom and dad live in the hill country and grow lavender. My Pacific Northwest kids love visiting Texas and making lavender lemonade with Grandmother; now they can add this treat as well! Cheers to moms everywhere.

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

I love the combo of chocolate and lavender. My favorite truffles are lavender scented. But I've never thought to add lavender to a brownie - so yummy!

Abby said...

Wow these look amazing! Perfect for summer. Seems like a combination you'd see on cupcake wars:-) Great photos!

http://www.abbyeatinghealthy.com/

Muffin Tin said...

Lavender is amiable with chocolate in the same way that Earl Grey is. I don't understand the chemistry exactly but they are parallel. Making Deborah Madison's apricot jam with lavender has become a summer tradition for me. And her blueberry compote with lavender.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Tejana Mama--I've never made lavender lemonade, but I'm a big fan of lavender and lemon ice cream.

Katie--If you enjoy it in chocolate truffles, you'll definitely enjoy lavender in a brownie.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Abby--They are perfect for warm weather!

Muffin Tin--Yes! It's very similar. And I will definitely have to try that apricot lavender jam this summer--that sounds wonderful!

Susan Rose said...

OMGosh!!! THANK YOU for posting the link to Saveur's food blog awards. I've voted for YOU, and now I have a new bunch of outstanding food blogs to drool over. I think you moved the link, so here it is for others who are interested... http://www.saveur.com/2011-best-food-blog-awards.jsp

Melissa said...

I hope to visit the lavender festival in Blanco this year. I've made lavender shortbread and it was delicious. Very dainty. Last year I made a Go Texan cupcake using Rio Star grapefruits and lavender. It was yummy too.

Lexi said...

I cook with lavender quite a bit (shortbread, ice cream, syrup for homemade soda) but chocolate will be a new pairing for me. Thanks for the tip!

George said...

That's really interesting. I have had candied lavender leaves, but I had no idea that there was a dried version. My wife is the baker of the family, so I will have to see if she wants to order a tin.

meg said...

Love lavender. I know people who think it tastes like soap...but I'm not one of those people.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Susan--Aren't there a lot of great blogs there? And thank you for the vote!

Melissa--Oh! I'll have to try that combination of Rio Star and lavender!

Lexi--You're very welcome. I hope you enjoy it!

George--Now I have to try candied lavender leaves. That's a new one for me!

Meg--I'm with you.

fltex said...

I'm a grown man and your blogs about family make my eyes moist. You hit a good nerve. keep it up.

Anonymous said...

I am moving to Houston soon, well, really Katy, but any way I have been dissecting your site, searching and searching to find all the wonderful places to eat between El Paso and Katy as I drive from San Diego. I am spending the night in Las Cruces, NM and then heading to San Antonio for the night before I hit Katy. Any recommendations of stops along the way would be appreciated! I really enjoy your recipes and I am so excited to taste all your muse.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--In El Paso, I like Julio's Cafe Corona and Carnitas Querataro. Pepito's and Mi Casita are places to stop in Fort Stockton. San Antonio has a ton of great places--I like El Fogata and Taco Palenque.

Shelley--I never noticed, so no worries!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Flex--Thank you!

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

How did I miss this one?!? Magnifique!!! I just bought some lavender plants and am beyond smitten. I feel fortunate to be on the 'loving' side when it comes to the taste of lavender. I actually love it with both sweet and savory dishes - like crusting steaks in dried lavendar and garlic - to die for. This will no doubt become THE brownies recipe in our house!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Miss Meat and Potatoes--I've never used it in a savory way, but those steaks sound wonderful! A chef friend of mine also says that lavender and lamb are best friends.

Shelley said...

I remember one of my first "comments" here was on a lavender recipe. (I remember because to my mortification as a writer, I misspelled it!)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Shelley--I don't recall that, so no worries!

Anonymous said...

I am moving to Houston soon, well, really Katy, but any way I have been dissecting your site, searching and searching to find all the wonderful places to eat between El Paso and Katy as I drive from San Diego. I am spending the night in Las Cruces, NM and then heading to San Antonio for the night before I hit Katy. Any recommendations of stops along the way would be appreciated! I really enjoy your recipes and I am so excited to taste all your muse.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--n El Paso, I like Julio's Cafe Corona and Carnitas Querataro. Pepito's and Mi Casita are places to stop in Fort Stockton. San Antonio has a ton of great places--I like El Fogata and Taco Palenque.

Tasty Eats at Home said...

I've just recently started to use lavender in baking. Haven't combined it with chocolate yet though. Since these brownies look very similar to my favorite kind, I think this is definitely something to try!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Tasty Eats at Home--Hope you enjoy the combination of chocolate and lavender!

Some Girl said...

Hi Lisa- first off, love your blog! I'm a fellow homesick Texan in Brooklyn and reading your posts always makes me feel closer to home.

Couldn't find lavender- any idea where to get in NYC? Kalustyan's maybe? But made your brownies with some spicy dark chocolate anyways and that's an awesome brownie recipe!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Some girl--I get mine at Westside Market, but I would bet Kalustyan's would have it, too. I've also seen it at the Union Square Greenmarket--there's sometimes a farmer on Saturdays that sells lavender fresh and dried.

Kirk said...

Great recipe! Have made it twice since your posting and very pleased with both outcomes. The mixture of cinnamon, lavender, bittersweet (60%) chocolate,walnuts and salt is sublime. It reminds me of driving to Austin along US-290... bluebonnets and pecan trees. Thanks

Erin @ The Speckled Palate said...

Goodness! These look absolutely AMAZING! And to think that I would have never ever thought about using lavender in any kind of baking had I not read this post. Going to have to try it out soon! And what a beautiful post for Mother's Day!

Chris said...

Next weekend is the Lavender Festival in Blanco. Definitely picking up some culinary lavender while I'm there to try out this recipe. Very excited! Thank you for sharing.

Kagee said...

Made a batch last week, they were absolutely delicious, thanks!
I also took a shot of my efforts:
Lavender Brownies

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