As soon as we can every in March, we plant pansies. They are such a breath of fresh air after the dreariness of winter. For winter on the prairie may be cold but it isn't often white -- I think of winter as brown -- brown grass, brown leafless trees.
We buy flats and flats of them and put them in as many pots as we can.
But then in June (and sometimes in May) comes heat . . . and pansies do not like heat and so they wither and must be pulled up and replaced with summer annuals.
But I hate to see them go and so I pick all the blossoms and candy them. To decorate cakes and cookies in the winter.
It's easy to do. Take egg white, brush on the pansy blossoms. Sprinkle with sugar and lay on parchment to dry.
Besides pansies, I also had some violas in on of my pots. The violas, in whites and purples were not much bigger than violets.
I have a special tin that I keep the flowers in until I need them. I think they look perfect decorating cakes or cupcakes frosted with chocolate or white icing.It's always interesting to see what homemade things are worth and I found the crystalized flowers at Sur La Table -- 25 for $39.95 (plus shipping). My tray of pansies almost 50 of them! Certainly worth an afternoon's work. And bragging rights that I, myself, candied the flowers that came from my garden.
And to celebrate the last of the pansies, I had a friend over for tea. The cookies decorated with the candied pansies were perfect with the pot of Earl Grey.
On perfect viola bloom atop each cookie. Makes the cookies seem extra special.
A confession, however, the cookies were not Linderhof baked but rather bakery bought. Time has been precious lately and alas, no time to bake. But even bakery cookies are made a bit special with their candied flower decoration.