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Indulging my interest in food and flavor, I love to write about cooking, gardening and life's bounty. My new book - "Discover Cooking with Lavender"- is now available

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sugar for All Seasons

Sugar - seasoned with herbs, spice, flowers or citrus - combines sweetness with pungent exotic flavor. Most of us remember cinnamon sugar sprinkled on buttered toast. When my mother made pie, she always set aside pastry scraps for what she called “sample”. After rolling the odds and ends of these scraps, she placed them on a cookie sheet, dabbed butter on top of the pastry and sprinkled each “sample” with cinnamon sugar. As they baked in the oven, the kitchen was infused with an unforgettable aroma.

1. Lavender sugar preserves summer’s bounty so it can be enjoyed all year. Sprinkled on a glistening red grapefruit and broiled until sugar melts, the fragrance seems to bring back sunny gardens. With a jar of lavender sugar in the pantry, you can tap into your creativity. Try substituting lavender sugar for the sugar in your blueberry muffin recipe.

2. Vanilla delivers a warm, mellow flavor. Add a vanilla bean to a jar of lavender sugar and enjoy the flavor contrast. This blend of flavors enhances the sweet taste of berries.

3. Mint sugar adds a cool fresh taste to fruit salads. Sprinkled over fresh pineapple, its bright green color contrasts beautifully with the golden hue of the fruit.

4. Citrus fruit flavored sugars bring a piquant taste to desserts and drinks. To make lemon sugar, combine 2 tablespoons of lemon zest with 1 cup of sugar. For orange, tangerine or lime flavored sugar, replace lemon zest with zest from an orange, tangerine or lime.

5. What could be more elegant than rose flavored sugar? Gather 1 cup of rose petals. Make sure your rose petals are clean and free of unwanted chemicals and sprays. Layer the petals evenly in 1 cups of sugar in a glass jar. Set aside in a dark place for two weeks allowing the fragrance of the rose petals to scent the sugar. This delicate flavored sugar can replace plain sugar in custard recipes. Berries taste sweet and delicious when topped with rose flavored whipped cream.

6. Ginger sugar combines the zing and zesty flavor of ginger with sweetness. Use this in drinks or in cookies for a fresh and exotic taste.

These all make unique and inexpensive gifts. Package sugar in a decorative glass jar, label and include a favorite recipe or serving suggestion. Your sweet gift will make you unforgettable.

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