By Jill Brooke
“Eat Your Flowers”
How can you not be compelled by Loria Stern’s mission statement that reflects her love of flora as well as utilizing nature’s bounty in her baked goods?
They really aren’t cakes or pies or loaves of bread. They are works of art.
Early on, only those who lived in Santa Barbara, California could taste her delicious treats, which are made on her farm.
But once the self-taught cook started Instagramming her bespoke pressed flower shortbread cookies, which she describes as tres “Jane Austen-y,” requests started pouring in.
“They are the best gift, better than sending flowers,” she says.
They definitely are memorable for sure.
A budding business now has turned into a garden of floral delights. Aside from her on-line cookies, loaves of bread dusted with rose petals and exquisite cakes, she is also offering an Edible Flower course as well as a Pressed Flower course.
She is even considering doing one on floral spring rolls, which we adore since they aren’t as caloric.
Guilt-free floral food? Love that!
We also love her floral notecards featuring lilies, sunflowers, violas, poppies, orchids and lotus flowers, which are available on her website.
What’s her favorite flower?
“That is a VERY tough question,” she says. Upon reflection, the winner is: Viola.
“I love violas,” she says.
Of course, she does. Pansies, which are derived from the viola species, are named after the word “penser,” which means to think in French.
And Stern certainly has rethought how to present floral recipes in the most inventive and beautiful ways.
Here she shares her recipe for lavender brownies. Yum.
Lavender Lemon Blonde Brownies
Did you know that all brownies were considered blondies until chocolate was discovered in the early 20th century? This recipe pays homage to a time dating before the invention of chocolate, in a French countryside surrounded by fields of lavender and lined with lemon trees.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
1/2 tsp organic lavender essential oil
zest and juice of 1 small- medium-sized lemon
Palm full of fresh lavender flowers
*Slices of lemon for decoration
*Extra sugar for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
First massage sugar with the lemon zest. Then combine all ingredients and pour into a prepared parchment-lined 9” ceramic or glass pie pan.
Decorate the top with slices of lemons, fresh lavender flowers and sugar. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until middle is firm to the touch and tops are golden grown. Let cool and slice.
Last but not least, here also is an image of one of her incredible cakes that elevate baking and design to a whole new level.
Photos: Courtesy Loria Stern
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.