I'm a lover of the edible and medicinal plants that volunteer in my garden, and dandelions are one of my favorites. We regularly boil and sauté the greens, make dandelion green pesto, and dandelion leaf and root tincture. I like dandelions so much that I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to dandelion recipes. I'm serious. Check it out here (and remember to report back on your favorite recipes ; )
I've known that dandelion flowers are edible, but until this year I hadn't tried them. This spring I finally added them to our diet. My three year old daughter and I harvest the flowers and are now pretty fast at pulling the yellow petals out of the green sepals. We fluff up our collection of loose petals and mix them into a host of different baked goods. (Our favorite way of eating them so far, but we've only just scratched the surface with this fun ingredient!)
We had a gardener friend over for tea a couple weeks ago and we proudly served freshly baked gluten-free, maple syrup sweetened, oatmeal cookies with dandelion flowers and walnuts. I wish I had captured my friend's face when she took her first bite. Before I stepped away to grab more tea, my friend said, "This plate might be empty by the time you get back." She wasn't kidding. She ate several cookies during our visit and took the recipe and four more cookies home for her family.
Are you ready to give dandelion flowers a try? Here are a few things to watch for before you run out and harvest the first dandelion you see.
Be 100% sure of your plant identification. I know... you might be rolling your eyes, but there are some dandelion look a-likes out there. Consult a trusted plant ID book or a plant-nerd friend if you need help.
Harvest from an area that is free of chemicals.
Stay away from the dog pee zone... you know, the areas bordering sidewalks, streets, paths, etc. Same goes for your yard if you have outdoor pets.
You'll need about 15 dandelion flowers, in full bloom, for this recipe. Harvest your flowers and let them sit in a bowl or directly on the counter for a little while. Any tiny little critters will find their way out once the flowers are harvested and indoors. Wash the flowers if you'd like, then get to work pinching the yellow flower petal and pulling them out of the surrounding green leaves. Put the petals in a bowl and set them aside.
And now for the recipe...
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees ferenheit
2. Mix together the dry ingredients
3 C rolled oats
1 C brown rice flour
1/2 C arrowroot powder
1 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
2. Mix together the wet ingredients
2/3 C maple syrup
1 C butter or coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C chopped nuts (optional)
3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed
4. Add the dandelion petals and nuts and stir until just combined
5. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a lightly oiled pan and bake for 15-20 mins.
This recipe was adapted from the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies recipe in Feeding the Whole Family, which coincidentally features dandelion greens on the front cover. Cynthia Lair's cookie recipe is tasty and totally worth making, too. Other family favorites from this cookbook are Tempeh Sloppy Joes, Santa Fe Black Bean Salad, and Split Pea Soup with Fresh Peas and Potatoes - which my young daughter fondly calls "the best soup I've ever had".
I'd love to hear what you think of this dandelion cookie recipe. Leave your comments below!