Thursday, April 28, 2011

Delicious Dandelion Cookies

With May Day just around the corner, I was hoping to find some fun, flower themed projects for the children to do.

We've had just about enough paper flowers for one spring though, and with 20 degree mornings, and snow flurries continuing to come and go (not that I'm whining, or anything, I'll take the spring snowflakes of the north, over a southern tornado any day!), we just don't have much blooming in the yard.

Enter the lowly dandelion.

No matter how you feel about weeds in your yard, somewhere deep in your heart, you've got to love a dandelion. For some, I know, that love is very, very deep, almost too deep to find.

But really:

  • Dandelions are cheerful - I mean really how could a relative of the sunflower and daisy not be cheery. Never mind that ragweed's part of the family (Asteraceae, to be specific).

  • They are edible, perhaps not overly tasty, but full of vitamins C, and A, and beta carotene, though you need to keep in mind food allergies, exhaust pollution, and possible dangers of weed killers.

  • They are perennials, meaning you don't have to plant them, they just grow, year after year, all on their own.

  • You can find them just about anywhere.

  • And, pretty well, no one will mind if you pick them.

Even so, I like to discourage the children from stealing flowers from yards, so we walked down to a vacant lot, where there are lots of unsprayed dandelions currently growing.

And where, we discovered one more good thing about dandelions...

...apparently ladybugs are crazy for them. We found three or four, seven-spotted ladybugs (Coccinella septempunctata) on each plant, which we'll be reporting to Cornell University's Lost Ladybug Project.

To celebrate our find, and one glorious day of summer-like weather, we brought our flowers home, to wash...


...and turn into cookies. I was happy for a chance to try out a Fairy Gardens recipe (click the link to view it), which is basically a chocolate chip cookie dough, but with M&Ms...

...and dandelion flowers, added for fun.

The flowers add more color than taste, though I won't lie, they do add a little taste. My children, who are extremely picky absolutely devoured them (the same can not be said of the Man of the House, who turns green at the mere mention of dandelions in the kitchen).

I think the pastel M&M's left over in stores from Easter, look especially nice with the soft, yellow of the flowers, making for a very sunny plate, indeed. And, they were a perfect go along for our snack time story.

Mia Posada's Dandelions, Stars in the Grass, which we also read last spring (click here, for that post) is a simple, poetic picture book, about the beauty, and usefulness of the supposed weed, with a science section at the back, good for older children, as well as their younger siblings, and a recipe for Zigorriesalat (lion's teeth salad), for anyone who's really feeling brave.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I have never tried to eat dandelion flowers - this is the very first time I see actual flowers in food. I'd rather stick to wreaths :)

Christy Killoran said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.... I think I am with the man of the house. I know they are edible, but I just don't think I could bring myself to actually eat them. R loves to pick them though!

I agree - I'll take April snow over April tornadoes any day!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Natalie - There are a number of edible flowers - pansies are wonderful, and very pretty in salads, and on top of cupcakes :) Dandelions probably aren't my favorite food - but these cookies were good!

Hallie said...

We are actually going to be starting a study of dandelions! We get a monthly online magazine and the one from May 2009 is all about dandelions! Thanks for sharing, we'll have to add these cookies to our list!!

Susan said...

I wouldn't have thought to add dandelions to cookies...interesting idea. They do look so spring-like :)

Unknown said...

I am thinking my kiddos would be balk more at the texture than the taste...You are SO daring!

Debbie said...

I know there are a lot of edible flowers, but I don't think I have ever knowingly had any. I say that as who knows what some of my friends may have put in foods served to me.

Phyllis said...

Katie made a spring cake once and decorated it with edible flowers, though I noticed that we all took the flowers off before eating the cake. LOL Yes, I am not sure I could go for that texture either. They are pretty cookie though and I, unlike many, love look at,though.

Ticia said...

I think I'd mainly balk at worrying about the pesticides and such stuff.

So, do you just eat the flowers or is it the leaves too? I seem to remember you made a dandelion leaf salad last year.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Ticia - You really want to make sure your picking dandelions that haven't been sprayed. The entire plant is edible - roots and all - though most of it is very bitter. The leaves are best if picked before the flowers appear. But for these cookies, it was just flowers.

Phyllis and Wonder Mom - the texture is not bad, despite the picture I took, with the flower sticking up. They turn soft, when they bake, much like carrots in a carrot cake. Really, these cookies remind me a lot of a lavender scone, I had once at a tea shop.

You can eat roses too - again if they are not sprayed.

Ticia said...

I'm guessing I won't be finding unsprayed ones here...... But, my kids do pick a lot of them.