Dandelions are pretty great, huh? Splashes of yellow scattered about starting in late spring, continually spreading and dancing in the breeze throughout the summer. As flowers they make lovely bouquets for children to share and when they set to seed they become an all natural replacement for blowing bubbles. And you can eat every part of this surprisingly nutritious, bountiful plant, from the roots up to the leaves all the way to the bright yellow flowers themselves! You can make many dishes with dandelions, including, oh, say… COOKIES!
A Powerful Flower
Dandelions are recognized by many as very healthy, even medicinal. This is a romantic idea that I love, especially considering how easy it is to find the lovely flowers for free. Here are just a few of the possible benefits of the flower (not the green leaves or root, mind you, which are proven to be exceedingly healthy in their own right):
- Pain reliever
- Good for your skin
- Relieves stomach pain
- Provides anti-oxidants
- Source of Vitamin A and Vitamin B12
Some Dull Recipes Out There
With this healthy, medicinal reputation, it isn’t too surprising that various dandelion recipes are already out there, including cookies. I’ve done some online research and all the dandelion cookie recipes I’ve found are really just variations of one holistic dandelion cookie recipe floating around, which from what I can tell from comments and reading the recipes, is like a cookie designed for rabbits. Health nuts ruining it for the rest of us, if you ask me! It’s recipes like this that give whole grain, healthy, and gluten free bad reputations, where the goal is solely nutritional or to make a point, taste and texture being set aside by people who don’t even like cookies to begin with (or are afraid to publicly admit they have a sweet tooth!)
Not to knock healthy eating, but when it comes to cookies, why cut the pleasure for nutrition’s sake? It’s a cookie, and it is meant to be a treat!
A Better Way to BakE Healthier Sweets
While no cookie will ever be considered as healthy as a carrot, you can boost the nutritional value of sweets by making a few smart choices. Instead of using highly processed and enhanced all purpose flours (gluten free or standard), use whole grain flours. Instead of relying completely on ultra processed white sugars, use less processed sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Throw in some healthy ingredients like flax or oh, say, dandelion. Focus on quality wholesome ingredients and that empty calorie cookie can become a fiber loaded vitamin and mineral machine!
About Our Dandelion cookie
For this recipe we took a standard crispy sugar cookie recipe and modified it in several ways to make it whole grain, gluten free, less processed, and loaded with dandelion petals. The result is a vibrant yellow treat with a hint of that dandelion aroma that is thin, light, and airy, making it a perfect summer cookie that everyone can enjoy. It is seasonal bliss when served alongside vanilla ice cream with fresh picked wild berries! Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll forget that this is much healthier than your average cookie!
A few comments on the unique ingredients:
The maple syrup: The maple syrup is here to bring some “better” sweetness to the cookie, reducing the amount of over-processed white sugar required. It also adds some moisture to the cookie which will aid in gentle crispiness without the cookie becoming too hard.
The egg: A nice local egg with a strong yellow yolk will give these cookies an extra boost of yellow color, very worth it!
The dandelions: Any dandelions will work for this recipe, but from my experience you should try for the biggest flowers you can find, as they will make harvesting the petals much faster.
The white buckwheat flour: White buckwheat flour adds more yellow color to these cookies and does not alter the flavor by much. It also brings texture very comparable to standard wheat flour while being 100% gluten free. If you can’t find white buckwheat flour, standard buckwheat flour will work too, but note that it will add a hint of an earthy honey flavor to these cookies as well as darker coloring.
Whole Grain Gluten Free Dandelion Flower Cookies Recipe
Yield: About 2 dozen 3 inch cookies
- 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 oz) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (5.5 oz) pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (0.5 oz) dandelion flower petals (see step 1 below)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup (3.125 oz) quick cooking oats (gluten free certified)
- 1 1/2 cups (6.375 oz) white buckwheat flour
1. Before you plan to bake, collect about 2 cups dandelion heads. To pull the petals out, pinch the green base of the flower’s head and pinch the petals with your other hand, and separate. Collect in a clean jar or bowl until you have a 1/2 ounce by weight (about 1/2 cup not packed, if you don’t have a scale) and set aside.
2. Cream together butter and granulated sugar until well combined.
3. Add in the syrup, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt and egg, beating to combine thoroughly.
4. Mix in the buckwheat flour, oats, and dandelion flower petals until evenly distributed.
5. Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C) and prepare two baking sheets by spraying with nonstick spray, very lightly coating with oil, or lining with parchment paper.
7. When the 30 minutes are up and the dough is chilled, spoon the cookies onto the baking sheets by the tablespoon (slightly over 1 inch diameter drops of dough). Give them ample space, as this recipe is designed to spread a bit. 6 cookies per baking sheet is optimal.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes total, rotating pans after the first 5 minutes (spin back to front, switch racks top to bottom). You want the edges to be turning a nice brown while the middle of the cookie remains yellow but appears cooked. Overcooking (but not burning) these slightly will actually be better than undercooking, as you need to achieve a crisp cookie rather than soft. If they are too soft they will be more prone to crumble.
9. Cool completely in the pans before enjoying. Eat these as a standalone, light cookie or serve with vanilla ice cream and berries for a lovely summertime treat!