Dandelion Flower Cookies and Pickled Buds

These bright yellow flowers are not weeds. They are food.

Starting from late spring, hundreds of thousands of bright yellow dandelions have popped up from road sides, parks, and gardens, after their look-alike cat’s ears subside.

It is the prime time to forage the dandelion buds and flowers for recipes.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned dandelion cookies to my five-year-old son. He didn’t know what they were, but he was attracted to the sound of cookies. “Mommy, if you make them, I will eat them all!” he said. So I started to look for some good dandelion for this recipe.

In the city, it may be easy to see dandelions everywhere, but it can be a challenge to look for a batch of clean ones. I need to check the environment carefully, making sure there would be no risk of car exhaust, litter, or animal droppings before getting my hands on the plants. Unfortunately, where I live is a very popular dog walking path and I don’t dare to pick any dandelions around here to feed my family, no matter how beautiful they look.

So I decided to drive around the city to look for a patch of dandelion. I know it may sound crazy to many people (even to my husband). But dandelions wilt fast. If you want to use the petals before they turn brown, you need to do the “forage-to-table” quickly. Besides, a patch of healthy and clean dandelions means that we will be less likely to swallow chemicals or other unpleasant substances into our stomachs. Long story short; That day we couldn’t find any good dandelions and ended up going home with empty hands.

People often wonder why I treasure dandelions so much, while others just want to kill these plants with all they can. Then, it is because I know these bright yellow spring plants are food — a type of highly nutritious food. All parts of a dandelion, from the flower to the root are edible, and they are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, and trace minerals. When they are lying everywhere around me, I feel guilty not to use them and just let them to fade away with the season.

So when my In-laws invited us over for a dinner yesterday, I was quite excited. First, it was because I always enjoyed their company; second, it was because I could get some dandelions in their healthy lawn.

To make about 30 dandelion cookies, I used about 1/4 cup of dandelion petals. Since the green part of the dandelion heads taste slightly bitter, I omitted them in my recipe here.

Dandelion Cookies

(Ingredients):

1/4 cup Dandelion Petals

1/3 cup Butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups Flour, sifted

1/3 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

a pinch of Salt

How to make:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 360F.
  2. Quickly rinse the flower heads in the water to remove any dirt or debris; dry them on paper towel.
  3. Separate the yellow petals from the green parts. We will only use the petals for this recipe.
  4. To make the dough, mix the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs and salt; continuously mix it until it’s incorporated.
  5. Add in flour, 1/3 at a time. Mix it and form it into a dough. The texture of the dough should resemble your earlobes. Adjust the texture with extra flour or water if needed. Add dandelion petals and mix well.
  6. Roll the dough into small balls and lay them on baking tray. Press the dough down with a folk to create the pattern. Bake them in the oven for 10 minutes.

These dandelion cookies are rich in egg flavour with a slight hint of dandelion. They are good pair with black tea.

Dandelion buds

Dandelion buds are known good for pickling and be eaten as capers. When choosing the buds, find those are tightly closed and bright green because they contain the most floral flavour.

Pickled Dandelion Buds

(Ingredients):

Dandelion buds, rinsed

1 cup Hot Water

2 tablespoons White Vinegar

2 teaspoons Sugar

1 Bay Leaf

How to make:

  1. Combine together the water, vinegar, and sugar; stir it until it’s dissolved.
  2. Add bay leaf and dandelion buds. Chill it in the fridge for two days before using.