How to Make Your Own Sparkling Crystallized Flowers
Crystallized flowers, sometimes called candied flowers or sugared flowers, can embellish cakes, cupcakes, creams and mousses – really any dessert. They are very pretty and elegant, feminine and colorful and are really not that hard to make – as long as you can source some unsprayed blooms, which is paramount, and use the superfine sugar that we recommend. And of course they must be edible. There are many edible flowers, (I list some additional kinds in Tips) but you can certainly create a pretty array sticking with the ones mentioned.
You might as well make a large quantity of crystallized flowers at a time because, if dried and stored properly, they can be stored for up to 1 month or longer. They must be kept dry in an airtight container. In the image above you can see the “naked” petals next to their sugared versions. See how the sugar mutes the colors in most cases. On the right, with the blue-pink petal, the sugar seems to accentuate the color, whereas with the peach/yellow one in the center the sugar really makes the petal quite subtle compared to the original.
- 30 small (1 to 2-inch diameter) edible flowers such as pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, small roses or rose petals that have not been sprayed
- 2 cups superfine sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- Small, soft artist’s brush
- Make sure the flowers are dry and choose specimens without any bruises, nicks, or cuts.
- Place the sugar in a small bowl.
- Whisk the egg whites until frothy in another small bowl.
- Hold the base of one flower at a time with tweezers or your fingertips. Use a brush to apply a thin, even coat of egg whites to all of the petal surfaces. This takes time. Go slowly and try to make a very thin, even coating.
- Immediately hold the flower over the bowl of sugar, and using a teaspoon, scoop up and sprinkle some sugar evenly over the flower so it sticks. Gently shake the flower to remove excess sugar.
- Place the flower on a wire rack to dry. Repeat with the other flowers. Place the rack of flowers in a warm, dry location (inside a turned off gas oven with a pilot light is perfect, if you have one). Let the flowers dry thoroughly, at least overnight, or until completely dry and crisp.
- Store in single layers in airtight containers. Do not layer them. Even if separated by parchment paper, the petals can be crushed.
- Take your time to coat the surfaces of your flowers evenly and well. Once you add the sugar you will see bald spots where you missed coating with egg white but you cannot go back over the flower with more egg white and more sugar. You will create a gloppy mess.
- Some other edible flowers: lavender, lilacs, nasturtiums, violas, elderflowers, cymbidiums, chive blossoms and calendula. If in doubt, do Not eat!
- The same approach can be applied to fruit. Small bunches of grapes are good to try. The key with fruit is moisture. They need to be as dry as possible. Strawberries can work, but pat them dry first and they must be firm to begin with. Because of fruit’s inherent moisture you should plan on sugaring your fruit and using right away. They will not store.
- You can use reconstituted powdered egg white if you like.
Images: Dédé Wilson
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