Dandelion…that ubiquitous yellow flowering weed that makes a lawn look unkempt and has gardeners pulling their hair trying to keep it at bay. But if we put their annoyance aside, you’ll find that dandelions are a nutritious food. It is a herb that is believed to have originated in Asia. Nutritionally, dandelions have more calcium and vitamins than broccoli and the leafy base has more iron and riboflavin than spinach. Click here for more health benefits.
I was chatting to my mom yesterday and asked her if she ever used dandelions and she told me that she would throw the petals in our salads – not that I ever knew that! With their slightly bitter taste dandelion greens are also good in salads (similar to chicory and endive). We both had a good laugh as I told her my hunt for dandelions. The lawns in our neighborhood are immaculate and one is hard pressed to find dandelions. Even our own lawn which is mostly comprised of well cut weeds seems to have escaped the dandelion. John and I went for a walk yesterday in hopes I would find some. We walked for about an hour and found some scattered here and there along the roadside…who knew it could be this difficult! Never mind, it was a lovely day for a walk and were rewarded by these scrumptious cookies.
Makes 12 large cookies
adapted from Cooking with Flowers
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups oats
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dandelion petals (yellow bits only, compost the green bits)
1/4 cup dried cranberries or apricots, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda, and allspice. In another bowl beat butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla until smooth and light in color. Add egg and beat until mixed in. Blend dry ingredients, dandelion petals, and cranberries into butter mixture. Mix until there are no signs of flour. Scoop out 2-inch balls and place 2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will be slightly soft with first out of the oven so wait a few minutes to cool and then transfer to a wire rack.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: These cookies had a soft, chewy consistency with a slight taste of caramel. I would definitely make these again! To remove the petals, hold the petals with one hand and pinch the green flower base very hard with the other, and give a little twist. Enjoy!