Candied Rose Petal & Chocolate Cookies

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A NEW RECIPE! Finally! I have to admit I’m pretty excited to say I finally tried out something new in the kitchen. And, of course, it isn’t something in the traditional sense. When I’ve been deprived of real baking time, I typically end up going baking crazy. This particular morning, I ended up with a hankering to want to make something with this: 
                   
Particularly cookies with this…
SO. There has been this recipe on my bookmark watch list for several months now ever since I discovered it on Epicurious–CANDIED ROSE PETAL CHOCOLATE COOKIES. Holy smokes. Anything rose water, petal, or candied jam related, I’m all over it–roses in food express love and elegance. The last time I had the pleasure of frequenting an Indian grocery store, I just so happened to pick up some of this amazing rose petal jam spread by the name of “gulkand“. Surprisingly, there are many benefits and uses for this extraordinary invention. According to the link above, it’s an Ayurvedic tonic. Rose products are known to reduce excess heat, redness, and inflammation (Pitta) in the body, due to its sweet, astringent and cooling properties. It is quite useful for Vata imbalances, as well. Apparently it is a great remedy for acidity, in addition to fighting fatigue, lethargy, muscular aches, itching, improves memory, eyesight, and is a good blood purifier. Also rich in calcium and antioxidants. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold on this stuff! The National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine (NIAM) has listed additional benefits when one consumes gulkand (10-12 grams) on a regular basis: 
  • strengthens the digestive system (reducing hyper-acidity, gastric and duodenal ulcers)–P
  • increases urine output, given to those with water retention–K?
  • helps reduce menstrual pains, aids to treat dysmenorrhea–V/P
  • prevent acne, foul body odor–P
  • heal mouth ulcers, strengthen teeth and gums (!!!)–P, K
  • increase virility, aphrodisiac–V, P, K
  • for those suffering from heart and cardiovascular disorders, acting as a catalyst to facilitate effective uptake of medicines, controlling ailments ie. arrhythmia, HBP–P, K
  • combat epistaxis (bleeding through the nose…I recently learned a lot about this!)–P, K
  • reduce burning sensations of the palms of hands and soles of feet
  • reducing stress, calming the nervous system–V
  • in small quantities, reduces frequency of loose stool; in larger quantities, acts as laxative–V, P
  • reducing side effects of allopathic drugs (antibiotics, anticancer drugs, etc)
Other suggestions are to use it in making sweets, milkshakes (see link below for lassi), ice cream, a filling for cakes and pastries. I’d love to see how it would turn out in a cardamom-scented macroon (the next big baking challenge I’d like to tackle). The only noted contraindication is for diabetics, mostly due to the sugar content, and for those with a high kapha imbalance

Several years ago, I posted a recipe for something very similar, a sweeter version of this, incorporating it into a lassi. The gulkand has a stiffer texture due to less liquid and sugar, more like dried candied rose petals. It is prepared in an airtight glass jar that sits in the sun for several hours a day, typically from 10am-4pm (ironically the “Pitta time of day”), for up to a month.
So long story short, I ended up making some superbly delicious cookies with this stuff. Out of this world delicious. Divine intervention delicious. The rose and chocolate combo are to die for. The contributing author of this recipe apparently has a cookbook(!) and I am so intrigued! If his other recipes are as good as this, then it’s definitely going to make its way into my Amazon.com wishlist and cart ASAP. I was a bit hesitant to how much of this gulkand stuff the recipe called for: 1/2 cup. And 2 cups of chopped semi-sweet chocolate (I used this stuff for the first time, by the way, and I will never go back). But just trust it. Go with it. You’ll be more than pleasantly surprised. Even my dad that hates floral-y, rose scented girly stuff said they were good, so that’s saying a lot. Maybe his excess Pitta was talking. But either way, I’ll take it as a compliment.
 

Candied Rose Petal & Chocolate Cookies
by Vikas Khanna 
recipe from Epicurious
makes about 2 dozen

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (I bet ghee would be even more amazing!)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream or regular milk
1/2 cup gulkand (rose spread)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely chopped semisweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter, sugar, and brown sugar together in the microwave for 30 seconds on low power. Let the butter-sugar mixture cool just a bit then blend in the egg and egg yolk. Add the heavy cream/milk and rose spread. Stir until just combined and set aside. Do not overmix.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and carefully fold into wet mixture. Gently add the chocolate, mixing it well. Freeze the dough just until cold and firm, about 5 minutes.

3. Using a 2-oz ice cream scoop (or your wonderful intuitive eyeballs), drop the dough 3 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes (it took me about 15), or until the edges begin to brown. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack shortly after.

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