My favorite Alaskan wildflower has to be the wild rose. They're simple yet beautiful, fragrant and enticing yet capable of defending themselves with those pesky little thorns that get into your skin with the lightest touch. Best of all, they are edible! The petals make a lovely addition to salads, and have an almond-like flavor when baked. Their fruit, the rose hip, is an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants, and can be turned into jelly, tea or wine.
Our wild roses bloom in early- to mid-June every year, and range in color from deep pinks (as above) to pastels to nearly white. Toward the end of their blooming season, we send the children out to pick petals. After a very gentle washing, some petals go into ice cube trays with water to make pretty additions to chilled drinks later in the summer, while the rest are laid out to dry in preparation for baking.
Yesterday was the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and it seemed appropriate to use Our Lady's flower, the rose, in our celebration. My mother found a recipe years ago for wild rose petal cupcakes with ground almonds, and makes them every year now. On Friday, my youngest sister came over to make a batch with me.
They turned out very well; unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the recipe! I will add it as soon as I can find it.
UPDATE: Recipe found!
Rose Petal Almond Cupcakes
1 c all-purpose flour
0.5 c almonds, ground
1.25 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
0.34 c shortening
0.5 c sugar
0.34 c water
0.5 c fresh rose petals
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients alternately with water. Gently fold in petals, reserving at least 10-12 for decoration. Line 10-12 muffin cups with cupcake papers. Fill two-thirds full with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely. Makes 10-12.
1 c powdered sugar
1.5 Tbsp butter, room temperature
0.5 tsp almond extract
Beat together until fluffy. Occasionally requires a few drops of water, depending on humidity. Once cupcakes are cool, frost, pressing on reserved rose petals to decorate.