Wild Violet Lemon Cookies Recipe (gluten, dairy, grain-free)22. March 2022
These Wild Violet Lemon cookies are a real head turner! They are also a fun, albeit lengthy, project for kids to help make. If you have an abundance of wild violet flowers in your yard, you’ve most likely made violet jelly, infused-vinegar, sugar, or tea already. So this recipe is a bit different than the standard violet fan-favorites. It will wow your friends and keep your kids busy in the yard. If you’re new to foraging, be sure to read our Wild Violet Recipes blog post for foraging and harvesting tips (Note, African Violet houseplants are NOT the same as wild violets, they are NOT edible).
This is a gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free cookie recipe. SO, disclaimer, don’t expect fluffy cookies. But trust me when I say these healthy cookies are super delicious. Almond flour cookies have a little bit of a texture to them compared to those made with gluten flour. But they are still soft! The dough uses both almond and coconut flour with lemon extract and zest. The dough is divided in half, then one tablespoon of dehydrated and powdered violets are added to one half of the dough. This will give the final cookies a beautiful, rustic look with natural coloring. Add a fresh violet to the top of the cookie for the final touch before baking.
I harvested violet leaves one day for tea, and decided to dry some of the flowers at the same time. I thought the flowers would make a neat natural food coloring. You can air dry flowers or add to a dehydrator (use the herb temperature setting on a dehydrator – it won’t take long to dry the small flowers). I didn’t remove the green sepal (the green part behind the flower head that attaches to the stem). Once the flowers are dry, run them through a coffee grinder or small food processor to break into a powder. You can store the powder in a mason jar to use as a natural and rustic food coloring for future baked goods.
While I haven’t tried this yet, I imagine you can also finely mince up fresh violets and add to the dough too. If you want to try using fresh flowers in the dough, I would suggest removing the green sepal (the green part behind the flower head that attaches to the stem). The dried and powdered violets produce a bluish tint to the the cookies. If you use fresh minced violets, I’m guessing the dough may be more purplish.
Sweeteners: Maple Syrup or Violet Syrup?
I’ve made these wild violet lemon cookies with pure maple syrup and homemade violet syrup. I once had leftover violet syrup, so I decided to try it instead of maple syrup. I prefer the taste and ease of using maple syrup instead, especially since violet syrup is time-consuming to make. Plus, maple syrup is healthier. Use a light maple syrup so the cookies won’t have a maple taste. Because violet syrup is made with white sugar, the final cookies are sweeter than those made with maple syrup. Cookies made with violet syrup will also brown more and have less uniform edges. But if you’ve gone crazy foraging violets with ambitions to try them in everything you can, violet syrup is worth making at least once. It does take a bit of time to prepare, just like violet jelly. Plan a back-breaking day of picking teeny-tiny violet flowers to steep in boiling water overnight. That is the time-consuming part, so enlist as many children to help pick flowers as you can! Then it’s just a matter of straining out the flowers the next day and cooking the liquid down with sugar. It has a light floral and sweet taste that is super on pancakes with fresh fruit. For more Violet recipes, see our Wild Violet Recipes blog post.
The above photo shows the difference between cookies made with maple syrup (left) and violet syrup (right). I didn't add the powdered violets to the violet syrup batch and opted to add more flowers to the tops instead.
There are different types of coconut oil to choose from. The difference is how they are processed and how they taste. Unrefined coconut oil is sometimes called virgin or pure coconut oil. The oil is extracted by pressing it out of the coconut flesh. Some unrefined coconut oils are labeled as being “cold-pressed” too, which means no heat was used in the extraction process. This oil will have a strong coconut smell and flavor.
Refined coconut oil goes through additional processing. It will be more neutral scented and flavored since it is highly processed. It may be:
- degummed (by adding and removing degumming agents from the oil)
- bleached (by filtering through an activated clay filter)
- neutralized (lye or sodium hydroxide is added, then removed to reduce the rancidity risk)
- deodorized (heated to remove scent and taste)
Unrefined coconut oil is my go-to choice because I prefer minimally processed foods. Both have the same nutritional benefits. If you ever make skin or hair care products, unrefined oil is also a better choice. So since that is what I always have on hand, it’s my go-to for baking too. In my opinion, these cookies have a slight coconut taste which I find great. If you don’t want a lemony-slightly-coconut-tasting cookie, use refined coconut oil instead.
Wild Violet Lemon Cookies Recipe
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Yield: approximately 9 cookies
Prep Time: Varies depending on ingredients used (30-40 minutes to prep dough, chill, and roll)
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (I use cold pressed, unrefined organic coconut oil)
- 1/3 cup pure light maple syrup OR 1/3 cup homemade violet syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract (OR you could use lemon juice instead, but cookies will be less lemony)
- 1 1/3 cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon dried and ground Wild Violet flowers for natural coloring
- Fresh Violet flowers
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- By hand, mix the lemon zest, lemon extract, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup (or violet syrup) together in a large bowl.
- Combine with the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. You can sift or use your fingers to smash up any large lumps. Stir until smooth without any lumps.
- Evenly divide the dough in half. You may need to chill the dough in the refrigerator a few minutes if it is too wet at this stage. Do not add more dry flour ingredients!
- Add the dehydrated and powdered violets to half of the dough mixture. Kneed the powder into the dough.
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Roll each color dough into individual balls about one inch in size. You will have about 9 of each color.
- Take one of each colored dough ball and smoosh them together. Then gently roll them back and forth in your hands until they form one larger ball. What you want is a smooth ball that is half and half in color.
- Place balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-stick liner sheet. Add a fresh wild violet flower to the top of each cookie. Using the palm of your hand, gently flatten the cookie just a little bit.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. The cookies will still be soft at this point. Let them cool completely on the tray after removing from the oven.
The final cookies will be slightly cracked. If you use maple syrup, the cookies should be more uniform in shape. When I used violet syrup, my cookies browned a little more and had less uniform edges. The cookies freeze very well too, assuming you don’t eat them all before having to store them.
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Want to know more about eating flowers! See our Wild Violet Recipes blog post for many more recipes and Read our blog post on Using Dandelions as Food & Medicine.