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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lavender Bread and Reading Garden Spells !

Any ardent admirer of my blog will quickly tell you how baking and books (not strictly in that order) are the great passions of my life. Baking soothes me and books give me wings . They may sound opposing forces by my above mentoned description but trust me that I absolutely adore when they combine. Luckily , due to my monthly book club , the coming together of my great passions is  becoming a frequent occurence (as evident from my previous posts). This month , though  , I hit the jackpot !!! Not the  money kind...just recipe in a fiction book kind. Make it "present on the author website" kind but you get the point ..yes? The author in question is Sarah Adler and her recipe of lavender bread won the taste test hands down by my fellow book members.

As presumed by the title , healing and magical power of herbs play a essential part in this feel good story about two sisters learning to trust each other in a small town setting with a fair bit of Southern charm thrown in . The fact that the elder sister is gifted at baking with edible flowers with healing properties only adds to the charm and appeal of this book. Like the female lead in the book , yours truly has tried using herbs in her bakes like rosemary,thyme etc  but it was the mention of lavender in the book that intrigued me . It is said to raise spirits and prevent bad decisions resulting from fatigue . What I prefer is it's calming aroma so when I  came across this recipe , knew immediately that this was what I would be baking for the next book club meeting . Apt too, don't you guys agree ?
With my next bake firmly in mind, I set on my quest to find some edible culinary lavender. A quick online search yielded the fact that Amazon was the preferred seller but I wanted to purchase locally . Scared of using too much and getting a soapy taste to my bake , I preferred buying in lesser amounts (so that the temptations to add more would be lesser) than the bulk amount being sold at Amazon. Trip to my local Trader's Joe proved fruitless but luckily my other local natural food store , Earth Fare carried it . I bought a meager amount (just a little more than required) and it only cost me 46 cents. Take a lesson from my experience and stick to your local store. That being said , I wished the quantity was more gong by the heavenly aroma in my kitchen after the bake. I promptly used the leftover lavendar in my daily quota of green tea.Do try that out also sometime.

Ingredients -
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsp of finely chopped culinary lavender 
6 tbsp room temperature butter
1 cup granulated sugar 
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs 
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Method
Grease and flour a loaf pan and also pre heat the oven at 325 degrees F.

Take the milk and lavender in a sauce pan on a medium heat . Heat to a simmer , remove from flame and let cool slightly .
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time till the mixture is fluffy and light.

Sift the flour , baking powder and salt and then fold in the cream mixture alternating with the milk and lavender mixture till well blended.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for a good 50 minutes to an hour till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy .