Candied violets

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mishmish

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If you live where violets grow wild and you want to spend an afternoon watching Netflix without feeling guilty, have I got the project for you! You'll need either distilled water or rosewater, a few teaspoons of gum arabic powder (Mountain Rose has it), fine caster sugar or granulated white sugar that you've pulsed in the blender a few times, a very small clean paintbrush and lots of violets. You want violets in full bloom that have not been sprayed with pesticides and aren't near a roadway. Pick them with the stem attached so you'll have something to hold onto. I like to keep the stems in water while I'm working.

Warm 2 tablespoons of water and add a couple of teaspoons of gum arabic powder to it. It tends to clump so be prepared to shake the jar or beat it until well mixed. Add more powder, if necessary, until it's the thickness of liquid honey. It helps to mix it the day before you're going to use it. Prepare someplace to put the candied flowers to dry: parchment paper on a baking sheet, or a screen-type rack. Holding a violet by the stem, paint all surfaces of the flower with the gum arabic solution and then hold it over your bowl of caster sugar and spoon sugar over it. The petals will probably stick together so it takes a while to get them separated and covered evenly with sugar. Twirling them by the stem will sometimes open the flower up better. This takes forever, so it's a perfect project for when you really should be doing other things but just don't want to.

As you finish each one, lay it on the drying rack or parchment, close but not touching. When completely dry, they can be stored in a glass jar and will keep a long time. I have no idea what I'm going to do with mine - maybe decorate cupcakes - but it was more a lot more fun than cleaning the basement.
 
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