When cooking with or serving edible flowers, or using them as a garnish, clean the
Edible Flowers (to taste)
by washing them gently in a large bowl of cold water and let them air dry on a paper towel.
Snip off stems as close to the base of the flower as possible. Just experiment with how close you can cut - you might have one or two fall apart, but then you'll know how close to cut. Allow pansies to sit upside down for about 15 minutes, then flip over to finish drying completely.
To press fresh flowers, simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lay washed and dry flowers in a single layer, and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Lay heavy books on top and let the flowers press overnight for best results.
Next, prepare the shortbread cookies. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the
All-Purpose Flour (1 3/4 cups)
Corn Starch (1/2 cup)
Salt (1/2 tsp)
until well combined; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a blade attachment, beat
Unsalted Butter (1 cup)
just until fairly smooth, but not until light and fluffy. With shortbread, you don’t want to add too much air to the dough.
Powdered Confectioners Sugar (1/2 cup)
Vanilla Extract (1 tsp)
and beat again until well blended, about one minute.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture beating just until all flour is incorporated.
Place a large sheet of parchment paper on your counter. Scrape dough onto parchment paper and pat it into a large rectangle (about ½-inch thick).
With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to ¼-inch thickness.
Cover flattened cookie disk with another sheet of parchment paper. Cover the pan and refrigerate for one hour.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (parchment paper seems to work better with shortbread cookies than silicone baking liners).
Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut with round, square or fluted cutters. Use cutters appropriate for the size of the pansies and violets you have already prepared.
Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets as you cut them. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut out as many cookies as possible.
Use flour as little as possible to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and cutters, but try to keep it as minimal as possible. Using too much flour will make the cookie dough tough. If the dough gets too soft as you are working with it, return it to the refrigerator for a few minutes.
Place pans in the freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerator for 20 minutes. This step is mandatory! Chilling the unbaked dough will keep your cookies from spreading out as they bake.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for 14-18 minutes (depending on size) or until cookies are beginning to turn light golden at the edges.
Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely to room temperature before glazing.
While the cookies bake and cool, prepare the sweet almond glaze. Whisk together the
Powdered Confectioners Sugar (1 cup)
Heavy Cream (2 Tbsp)
Pure Vanilla Extract (1 tsp)
Almond Extract (1/2 tsp)
Light Corn Syrup (1 tsp)
until smooth. Add more liquid to thin out or add more powdered sugar to thicken to your desired consistency.
Carefully spoon glaze on top of each cookie, spreading gently and evenly over the top.
Immediately place a fresh-pressed pansy or violet on top of each glazed cookie. Allow cookies to sit at room temperature until the glaze has set.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.