October 09, 2017
Classic meringues are snow white but color can easily be infused into them for a more festive look. In powder form and derived from plants, colors act as natural paints: blue from spirulina algae or butterfly pea blossoms; pink from beets or rose petals; red from radish or annatto seed; purple from red cabbage or grapes; yellow from turmeric or marigolds; green from spinach; black from activated charcoal. As an alternative to powders, pulverized freeze dried fruits work very well. A third option is organic edible flowers that enhance color and also add an aromatic dimension. Vegetable powders tend to be more subtle and won't add noticeable flavor since a little color powder goes a long way.
It is easy to infuse color and flavor for a homemade confectioners' sugar using organic edible flowers. Rose petals work particularly well. If you have access to fresh organic petals and a mortar and pestle, you can 'muddle' them or, using a blender set on high speed, blend the petals and raw cane sugar together to make a fine pink rose confectioners' powder. Otherwise, lightly hydrating them will revive the flowers enough to release color and aroma into the sugar. Spice shops, like Starwest Botanicals have aromatic organic dried flower petals. When using flowers as garnishes it is important to make sure that the flowers are edible and organic
Rose Confectioners' Sugar
1 Tablespoon dried rose petals, or 10 fresh petals from one pink or red rose
2 Tablespoons hot water
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp beet powder (optional)
Heat water in a teacup and add dried petals. Allow dried petals to steep in the hot water until they begin to absorb the water and soften, about two minutes. (You can skip this step if using fresh petals). Add sugar to a blender. Strain out the water and add the hydrated petals. If desired add a drop or two of rose water for a more intense rose flavor. If using a mortar and pestle, stir the petals and sugar together until the flavor and aroma are released. If you prefer a darker pink color, add a few drops of beet juice or beet powder and rub through the sugar. Shake the sugar onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to dry in a warm place - a closed oven with a warm pilot light is ideal. Transfer to a mason jar with a lid.
Sprinkle over pancakes, shortbread cookies or fold into meringue.
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