Refreshing Lavender Lemonade

There are certain ingredients that I just absolutely love working with — and I have a particular attraction to lavender. It has a unique flavor and is so refreshing, especially when added to lemonade. (It is fabulous in ice creams, cakes, macarons, and with anything chocolate.)

I’ve made this recipe several times and it’s one of my favorites. The results are delicious and this stuff is super easy to make! (Once you hunt down culinary lavender, of course…) Lavender lemonade is the perfect summer drink, and it’s also pretty addictive. Nothing quite beats a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemonade on a hot day, but, couple that will lavender, and you’ve got a killer combination.

Lavender Lemonade

Adapted from Amy’s Lavender Lemonade on allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tray ice cubes (crushed if desired)
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cups white sugar, or as needed
  • 8 lemons
  • 5 cups cold water, or as needed

Directions:

  1. Place the lavender in a large loose tea filter bag, if you have one available, and place the lavender in a medium heatproof glass bowl. (If you don’t have filter bags, you can just put the loose lavender in, but you’ll need to strain it out afterwards.) Allow to steep for about 10 minutes before removing the filter bag and discarding the lavender.
  2. In the meantime, squeeze the juice from the lemons into a separate bowl or cup, making sure to catch seeds and excess pulp.
  3. Add the sugar to the hot lavender water (after the lavender is discarded) and stir until dissolved.
  4. Place the ice cubes in a 2 quart pitcher and immediately pour the lavender mixture over the ice.
  5. Top off the pitcher with the cold water and stir. Be sure not to add a lot of extra water, or else the lemonade will begin to loose its flavor and intensity. Add extra sugar and stir, to taste.

hibiscus and hazelnuts


OH YES.

About a week or so ago, I had my first adventure in the ice cream making world, and let me tell you — I am never looking back on store-bought ice cream. The Cuisinart Ice Cream maker (which works just as well for frozen yogurt, sorbet, etc etc) had been sitting in the kitchen for months unused — I suppose simply because no one really wanted to put in the effort (or time) to figure it out. But recently, I hauled it out (and legitimately had to dust it off) with the intention of making some ice cream/gelato to accompany my favorite chocolate cake for a dinner party. (And just for the record: I swear by this chocolate cake — it’s absolutely to die for. It’s incredibly easy to make and the leftovers in the fridge 3 days later — if there are any, of course — still taste delicious.)

I chose two recipes from  Sweet Scoops by Shelly Kaldunski, a book that has been lying around the kitchen for approximately the same amount of time as the ice cream maker. First up: lavender ice cream with honeyed pine nuts (page 58 in the book … I haven’t reproduced it here due to copyright issues but you can always email me if you want it). I didn’t have any lavender (or so I’d thought — I found some after I’d finished making the ice cream) so I decided to use dried hibiscus instead and nix the pine nuts for a more citrusy ice cream. The result was a very smooth and creamy ice cream. The texture and consistency was perfect. The flavor itself was a little too sweet for my liking, and I think the hibiscus got lost a little in the 1/4 cup of wildflower honey in the recipe, so next time I’ll be cutting back on the sweetness factor. But overall — a definite success.

I did not have as much luck with my second recipe: mascarpone-hazelnut gelato (page 46 in the book), which was somewhat disappointing considering hazelnut gelato is one of my favorite foods of all time. Instead of the traditional egg yolks, this recipe called for 3/4 pounds mascarpone cheese. The process was simply enough: throw all the ingredients in a blender for prep, chill them, and then put them through the ice cream maker. However, the author neglected to mention that “mascarpone can become grainy if overwhipped” until the paragraph after the blender was used. I suppose I should have read through the recipe more carefully before I started or perhaps somehow known mascarpone was liable to revert to grain-like tendencies? But I’m not even an amateur chef; what do I know?

Because I had destroyed my recipe with a mere 20 seconds in the blender, I was extremely careful the second time around and probably didn’t end up mixing the ingredients enough. But the “gelato” tasted delicious enough, even though it wasn’t nearly as smooth or creamy as the hibiscus ice cream — in fact, it tasted more like “ice cream” than the first recipe did. It was very nutty and a little coarse (the hazelnuts in the gelato weren’t fully ground), but that was fine with me — I ADORE hazelnuts. However, I think I might have been the only one at the table who actually consumed all their hazelnut gelato despite the small size of the scoops on each plate … maybe this is a taste only I am partial to? Perhaps a re-make is in order.

Have you ever made ice cream at home? How did it churn (ha!) out?

{ Source: Images by me … feel free to use as long as you leave a credit/link! }

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