Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sparkling Hibiscus Lemonade

I've been a huge fan of hibiscus flowers long before I actually knew what they were. The first time I tried them, I didn't even know it - they were in tea. Yup, hibiscus flowers show up in a lot of herbal teas, adding red color and a fruity sort of flavor.

The flavor reminds me of a mix of raspberry and lemon - a little sweet, a little fruity, and a little tart.

You can find them in their dried form in Mexican stores, where they're called jamaica (ha-my-ka). Sometimes I see them in the Mexican aisle in my regular grocery store, too.

And now, thanks to The Wild Hibiscus Flower Company, there are hibiscus flowers in syrup. The syrup was my favorite part, but I thought the flowers made a really pretty garnish.

I thought the syrup would be a great addition to lemonade and of course the flowers would be the perfect garnish.

This is an alcohol-free beverage - a mocktail, if you prefer, that would be just as welcome at a cocktail party as it would be at a picnic. Of course, if you wanted to add a touch of vodka to turn it into an actual cocktail, that would be fine, too.

For the sparkling water, I used a soda siphon to make my own, but you could use bottled sparkling water, club soda, tonic water, or even a lemon-lime soda. But if you choose something sweetened, omit the agave - you probably won't need the added sweetness.

Sparkling Hibiscus Lemonade
By Donna Currie, Cookistry

1 Tablespoon hibiscus syrup (from jar of hibiscus flowers in syrup)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons agave syrup
Sparkling water (or soda) to fill glass
1 hibiscus flower for garnish

Combine the hibiscus syrup, lemon juice, and agave in a glass. Fill with sparkling water and stir. Add the hibiscus flower. Serve.

You can, of course, add ice, if you like. But if the sparkling water is cold, you might not need it, depending on how chilled you like your beverages.

The larger your glass, the more diluted your flavors will be, so adjust as you like. And adjust the sweetness, tartness, too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Glazed Hibiscus Lime Mini Muffins


Pretty, springy and light, these little muffins would be a lovely addition to a special breakfast or brunch (think Valentine's Day, Easter or Mother's Day). They would also be wonderful for a springtime bridal or baby shower. The Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup are sweet, delicious and definitely add a fun and different twist to any dish!

Glazed Hibiscus Lime Mini Muffins
by Susan Whempner
Makes approximately 60 mini muffins

For Mini Muffins:
3 Tablespoons syrup from jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons softened butter (unsalted)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 Wild Hibiscus flowers from jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray mini muffin pan with baking spray and set aside.

Whisk together hibiscus syrup and lime juice in small bowl and set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add oil and sugar and continue to beat on medium until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until completely incorporated.

Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in thirds, alternately with milk. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Increase speed to medium and beat mixture just until combined. Add vanilla, chopped hibiscus flowers and hibiscus syrup/lime juice mixture. Beat once more on low until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared mini muffin pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through, until cake tester inserted in center of a mini muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer muffins from pan to a cooling rack and cool completely. Drizzle with Hibiscus Lime Glaze (recipe follows).

Hibiscus Lime Glaze:
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 4-5 limes)
2 Tablespoons Wild Hibiscus syrup

Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add lime juice and whisk until smooth. Stir in lime zest. Use glaze immediately.

For Garnish:
Freshly grated lime zest from about 3 limes
5 Wild Hibiscus flowers, finely minced (press between layers of paper towels first to remove excess syrup before mincing)

Top each glazed mini muffin with a sprinkling of lime zest and a pinch of minced hibiscus flowers.








Friday, January 29, 2016

Hibiscus Swirl Pound Cake



During the winter holiday season, I like to have something ready to serve friends who might stop by. This pound cake keeps well, as all pound cakes do, and can be dressed up with a glaze, a beautiful garnish, a drizzle of syrup, or a splash of whipped cream.

I use Hibiscus Flower Extracts here, from the Wild Hibiscus Flower Company, who were kind enough to send some to me for recipe development. It gives a faint pink color (which I have enhanced with food dye) and a lovely subtle flavor. To form a beautiful and edible garnish, I rolled preserved Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup in granulated sugar, and let them dry for several hours.

Hibiscus Swirl Pound Cake
by Maurita Plouff
Blogging at Get the Good Stuff!
One 9 x 5 loaf

5 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extra
1 teaspoon wild hibiscus flower extract
Pink or red food dye, optional

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan.

Warm the eggs: Place the uncracked eggs in a bowl, and pour hot water over them. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.

Combine flour and salt, and sift them together onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Put the butter in a large mixing bowl, and beat until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the sugar, beating constantly, until the mixture is well blended. Crack the warmed eggs into the batter, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Continue beating, as you gradually sprinkle in the flour mixture, and continue to beat until the batter is smooth and well blended.

Remove about half the batter to a separate bowl. Into the remaining batter, add 1 teaspoon wild hibiscus extract, and beat well. If you wish, add food dye to make a pleasing shade.

Put both batters in the prepared pan, alternating large spoonfuls, until all the batter has been added. Swirl a long-bladed table knife through the batter in a random pattern, mixing the two colors around a bit.

Smooth the top of the cake with a rubber spatula. Bake at 325°F about an hour, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, place the pan on a rack, and let cool at least 15 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan and cool it completely on the rack.

Wrap well to store the cake.

Pink Hibiscus Glaze:

Note: Glaze cake at serving time; the cake stores better unglazed.

1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoon milk
3/4 teaspoon wild hibiscus flower extract

Sift confectioners sugar. Add melted butter, milk and extract; beat until smooth and creamy. Add more milk drop by drop if needed until desired texture is achieved. Pour over cooled cake.

Sugared Hibiscus Flower Garnish:

Put about 1/2 cup granulated sugar on a plate. Gently take hibiscus flower(s) out of the jar, shaking bits of syrup off. Roll the flower in granulated sugar, coating both outside and inside petals. Let stand several hours.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Blue “Vesper” Martini: Shaken not Stirred

In the 1953 Ian Fleming novel Casino Royale, James Bond ordered the then unnamed Vesper Martini. He requested a dry martini. “Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, and half a measure of Kina Lillet”. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then, add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?” Well, here we are in 2015 and I think it might be time to give that Vesper an update! When I received the b’Lure Butterfly Pea Flower Extract from Wild Hibiscus Flower Company, I knew a Blue “Vesper” was in order. Our generous sponsor also sent along Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup. Talk about a gorgeous cocktail! It’s always nice to have a spectacular garnish. Who needs a lemon peel! I prepared and served this delightful cocktail as we waited for our first course.

The Blue “Vesper” Martini: Shaken not Stirred
by Susan R-H

3 ounces Gin (I chose our local distilled Bluecoat)
1 ounce Vodka, pick your favorite
12-15 drops b’Lure Butterfly Pea Flower Extract
1 Wild Hibiscus Flower with a bit of the syrup, just for the beauty of the garnish

Chill a martini glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the gin, vodka and b’Lure. Shake until really cold! Put a bit of syrup in the glass and top with the Wild Hibiscus Flower, then, gently pour the martini in the glass. It will be pretty and very tasty. I sort of felt like a spy while sipping this. I just wish I had his car……

Monday, January 25, 2016

Petite Hibiscus Pecan Cheesecakes

I love flowers and I love cheesecake. And while I believe you can never have too many flowers, cheesecake is a different story. With moderation in mind, I wanted to create a cheese cake option that still offered something to wow family and friends. So I figured why not combine edible hibiscus flowers, cheesecake and throw in some toasted pecans to create a unique, rich, delicious desert.

Petite Hibiscus Pecan Cheesecakes
by Lori Churchill
Recipe makes 18 cakes

4 ounces toasted pecans
4 ounces graham crackers
3 teaspoons butter, soft
2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Hibiscus Flower Extract
2 eggs
A small hand full of toasted pecans for garnish - fine chop
Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup
1 mini cheesecake pan (I used the Norpro brand - designed for 12 mini cheesecakes)

Allow butter, cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature.

For the crust - Toast pecans in the oven or a cast iron skillet. Blend graham crackers and pecans in a food processor to the desired consistency, add soft butter, mix and set aside.

For the filling - make sure ingredients are at room temperature to make sure they mix together easily.

In a medium mixing bowl, add cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, honey, heavy cream, vanilla and hibiscus extract, mix just until it comes together (be careful not to over mix).

Crack eggs in a small bowl and gently whip. Add eggs to cream cheese mixture and fold in.

Combining in baking pan - Add a couple of tablespoons of the crust mixture to each spot in your un-greased cheesecake pan. Pack lightly but firmly with a dough tamper. Then add the cheesecake filling, making sure to leave a little room at the top of the pan for your cakes to rise while baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 min. Let cool for 10 minutes and gently remove from pan.

Let cool to room temperature, then further allow to chill in the refrigerator. Once chilled, place on a pretty plate, add a sprinkle of chopped pecans around the cheesecake, drizzle a couple of teaspoons of hibiscus flower syrup on top, then place a hibiscus flower in the center and serve.

Don’t forget to take a photo of your pretty petite cakes before you take that first bite. :)

Enjoy
Lori

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Champagne Hibiscus Gelatine

The classic champagne cocktail was the inspiration for this beautiful dessert. The unusual, exotic hibiscus flower is suspended in the base of this sparkling, layered dessert. B’Lure Butterfly Pea Extract provides a lovely blue hue. Make your own version of this showstopping dessert for your next intimate dinner!

Champagne Hibiscus Gelatine
by Gary Gee
My Cooking Blog
Serves/makes 4-6

3 cups champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine, divided use
1/2 cup sugar
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
B’Lure Flower Extract
2 Tablespoons syrup from jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers
1/4 cup whipping cream
Red food coloring
4-6 crystal champagne flutes
4-6 Wild Hibiscus flowers

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups champagne and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine remaining champagne and gelatin, whisking to combine. Pour in warm champagne/sugar mixture, and whisk to dissolve gelatin.

To create second layer: In a measuring cup (or other spouted vessel), combine 1/4 cup gelatin mixture with approximately 50 drops of B’Lure Flower Extract, until desired color is obtained. Set aside.

To create third layer: In another measuring cup or spouted vessel, combine 1/2 cup gelatin mixture with Wild Hibiscus syrup. Whisk in whipping cream, and set aside. Add 6-8 drops red food coloring, or until desired color is obtained. Set aside.

Reserve remaining gelatin mixture for first layer; create additional layers to your liking.

Place a Wild Hibiscus flower in each champagne flute. With a spouted glass, carefully pour 2-3 ounces of untinted gelatin into each glass until flower is just covered. Chill until slightly set, about 30-45 minutes.

When first layer is set, carefully pour approximately 1/4” B’Lure layer of gelatin mixture into each flute. Chill until slightly set, about 30-45 minutes.

When second layer is set, carefully pour 1/4”-1/2” Hibiscus Cream layer of gelatin mixture into each flute. Chill until set, 45 minutes or overnight.

Note: Champagne glasses vary, thus your yield may differ. Adjust colors and layers to your taste. Have fun with the B’Lure Extract! This product changes color with the acid content of your base. I only made three layers with this recipe, but you could create endless combinations of colors and flavors.

Many thanks to Ronnie Campbell of The Burrell Group and Wild Hibiscus Flower Co., who provided me with their products free of charge.