Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Favorite 5 Ways to Use Orange Blossom Water

My darling neighbor recently gifted me with a bottle of fragrant Orange Blossom Water. I'd never used it before, though I knew that it should be used in very small quantities to impart a delicate floral aroma to dishes. Luckily I stopped my fiance from chugging it straight from the bottle before I had a chance to explain that it was not, in fact, orange flavored water!

I was sipping some iced tea and thought that the orange blossom water could be a nice addition. I added a few drops, and was wowed at the subtle but delicious difference it's delicate flavor made. It turns out, orange blossom water can be incorporated into a lot of things I'm already used to making!

See my 5 favorite ways to use orange blossom water below.

1. Add to iced beverages

I always have a big pitcher of iced tea in the fridge during the warmer months, and a dash of orange blossom water really elevates the flavors of the tea into something special. I just add a few drops to each tall glass of tea. It pairs well with my favorite jasmine black tea combo (3 bags of black tea, 3 bags of jasmine tea, 2 tsp of agave per pitcher), as well as green tea, white tea, and plain black tea.

2. Add zip to your cocktails

If you're out of elderflower liqueur and want to jazz up a glass of bubbly, simply add a dash of orange blossom water to a flute of champagne or sparkling wine. It also adds a nice floral note to sangria, playing off of the herbal and citrus elements, and marries well with more floral gins (add a drop or two to a glass of Hendricks, garnished with a cucumber spear). Just remember - a little goes a long way!

Orange Blossom Water adds complexity to red or white wine sangria
3. Pair with sorbet

Stone fruits, berries and other summer fruits are perfectly complemented by the floral aroma of orange blossom water. Make your sorbet stand out by adding a dash of orange blossom water to your simple syrup before mixing with fruit juice or puree - or simply sprinkle a few drops over your finished sorbet. White nectarines, strawberries and citrus all pair particularly well with orange blossom water.

4. Enhance your sweets

Just a hint of orange blossom water can help your pound cake, angel food cake or quick bread stand out. After baking, sprinkle a few drops on the top of your treat. You can also add orange blossom water to icings, frostings, and white chocolate. It helps add a delicate layer of flavor, without any extra sweetness or calories, to your desserts. You can also try whipping it into cream and meringues, or drizzling it over ice cream or fruit tarts. (Try it with my Vegan Persimmon Cake, Fuyu Persimmon Pie, or Fig Tarts)

Orang blossom water would be perfect in the glaze for this Vegan Persimmon Cake
5. Liven Up Savory Dishes

A refreshing cucumber salad, perfect in the heat of summer, is even better with a few drops of orange blossom water added. The water helps draw out the natural floral and herbal flavors already present in crunch cucumbers. Try pairing the salad with a chiffonade of basil. Citrus based salad dressings, dipping oils and even roasted vegetables can all be improved with just a dash of orange blossom water. (Add a dash to my Persian Tomato and Cucumber Salad or Fresh Mango Salsa)

Enhance a simple tomato and cucumber salad with a few drops of Orange Blossom Water
Experimenting with new ingredients is always fun, and with the dog days of summer coming up, there's no better time to try out orange blossom water! What are your favorite uses for some of the unusual items in your pantry?

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