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Herb desserts

  • k

So this weekend I made Ina Garten's lemon pound cake and added chopped up lemon-basil. We actually made two, one plain and one with the herbs. The herbed one was so much better which got me to thinking (not that the other one was bad by the way), what other desserts out there have you tried with savory herbs?

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  1. I have a rosemary shortbread I keep wanting to try...maybe this summer...

    1 Reply
    1. re: geminigirl

      Rosemary shortbread is great, esp with a little ground black pepper added.

      1. re: isa1

        Do you have a recipe you like? This sounds awfully good.

            1. re: slowfoodgrrl

              Just be careful with the amounts...they can sometimes come out tasting a bit soapy. The right amount of sugar and a bit of salt is key.

            2. re: Candy

              I am longing for lavender ice cream tonight - do you have a recipe?

              I was going to use Nigella's basic recipe (egg-custard ice cream) and exchange the vanilla bean for a little dried lavender. How much lavender, though? Hmmm. Help!

            3. can do lemon-basil cookies too. goes well in creme brulee...basil, thyme, rosemary, lavender, etc...all work. also, work in shortbread.

              1. Tarragon ice cream, especially with a shot of sambuca or pernod to heighten the flavor. I've also made bay leaf flan, which I thought was really interesting and good, but didn't go over that well with the clientele. Sage can work well with citrus or pineapple in sorbet.

                1. My favorite go to cake to end a dinner for company: Cornmeal cake with Sweet Rosemary Syrup and Blackberries from Epicurious

                  1. After I posted I remembered the tarragon infused strawberry shortcake recipe from Claudia Flemming's The Last Course - really lovely (as is her pink grapefruit and rosemary sorbet).

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: KeriT

                      Fleming's tarragon-infused shortcake is wonderful. Great book, all around.

                      I add finely minced rosemary to a simple sour lemon cake from one of Donna Hay's books. Top with some macerated fresh strawberries. Very nice dessert for a summer lunch or brunch.

                      1. re: Old Spice

                        lemon rosemary cornmeal cake, from Tom Douglas' Big Dinners. The Herbfram Cookbook and The Herbal Kitchen have really great recipes with herb, lots of variations and good ideas. I am not near the books right now for more ideas.

                        1. re: cocktailhour

                          oh, the Herbal Kitchen sounds cool - it may fuel my new obsession.

                          Love Claudia Fleming's book, one of the favorites in my collection.

                      2. re: KeriT

                        As is the biscotti with rosemary.

                      3. oh my you guys! start giving out the recipes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                        the shortbreads, ice creams, YUM! I have an herb garden just yearning to make it into these treats!!!!!

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: lollya

                          Starwberry shortcake:


                          Lemon Yogurt Cake:

                          http://www.barefootcontessa.com/recip... - then we chopped up some lemon basil to go in it.

                          I would love the shortbread recipes also.

                          1. re: KeriT

                            you did that so fast.
                            I just love my herb garden...LOVE it.
                            This year I added to my constants - basil, sage, thyme, rosemary
                            and picked some new ones tarragon (found out I'm not a huge fan - but am excited to try it out in a sweet execution) curry (wow! never knew there was a plant) and lavender.

                            I'm so excited to try these recipes.

                            1. re: lollya

                              Tarragon combines beautifully with strawberries. I roast strawberries with a sprinkle of sugar (450 F for 10-12 mins), then spoon them over tarragon ice cream (infuse the chopped tarragon leaves in hot cream for 30 mins; strain, chill, and freeze).

                              1. re: glasshousejmb

                                oh I'm so excited to try to like tarragon!
                                thanks glass!

                              2. re: lollya

                                Lollya -- just FYI ICYDAK the curry plant is totally different from the curry spice (as I learned this this year in my adventures in Indian cooking). Both are used in Indian cooking but for completely different purposes. The way I think about the plant is that the leaves are kind of like an Indian version of the bay leaf -- with a somewhat similar flavoring except that you can eat them. Would actually love to grow some in my garden -- you've inspired me to try and track down a plant.

                                1. re: bite bite

                                  oh bite bite...thanks so much. if you're in minneapolis, i'd be more than willing to share, it's already GIGANTIC. I mean huge. HUGER (if possibly a word) than the basil which is like Jack and the Beansprouting in my yard. I have to cut it back, thank God I love basil. ;) So, any dishes you could share (veggie please) that would showcase this gem? It smells DIVINE.

                              3. re: KeriT

                                Here's my favorite for lavender shortbread. These are lovely on those chilly spring evenings, with tea, and also make a wonderful little gift basket for a friend*.

                                courtesy of Renee's Garden.

                                Lavender Shortbread

                                1 1/2 cups (3/4 pound) butter, at room temperature (no substitutes)
                                2/3 cup sugar
                                2 tablespoons very finely chopped lavender florets (fresh or dried)
                                2 1/3 cups flour
                                1/2 cup cornstarch
                                1/4 teaspoon salt

                                Preheat oven to 325°F.
                                Cover bottoms of two baking sheets with parchment or brown paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, lavender, with an electric mixer. Mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour, cornstarch, and salt and beat until incorporated. Divide dough in half. Flatten into squares and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm.

                                On a floured board, roll or pat out each square to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut the dough into 1 1/2 -inch squares or rounds. Transfer to baking sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Prick each cookie several times with a fork. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until pale golden (do not brown). Cool slightly, then transfer to a rack. Sprinkle with lavender powdered sugar.

                                lavender powdered sugar: Put a 4 or 5 sprigs of lavender flowers in a sealed jar with powdered sugar for a day before using the sugar.

                                Makes about 4 dozen.

                                1. re: foxy fairy

                                  OH MY GAWD.
                                  SO SO SO excited! I have a pot of it on my kitchen windowsill and have just started to bake...(i'm a cook, not a baker so far) THANKS so much.
                                  This recipe is interesting...so there is no lavender in the actual shortbread...wonder if it's because it could possibly burn? I'm going to experiment.

                                  Thanks Foxy!

                                  1. re: lollya

                                    Wait lollya - yes there is lavender in the shortbread. Two Tablespoons into the batter, and then more for the sugar dusting. Let us know how you like them! They're very delicate, excellent with tea as I mentioned, or maybe home-brewed iced tea.

                                    1. re: foxy fairy

                                      A warning on dried lavender: a little goes a long way. A coworker made lavender shortbread and it was so overwhelmingly flowery no one could eat it (and we eat anything & everything at work). It ranks as the only thing we've ever uniformly rejected and thrown out. So start with a LITTLE and work your way up to the full amount.

                                      1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                        The amount on the recipe I posted should be good - I used it and it just faintly infused the cookies with essence of lavender. They taste delicate, almost ethereal. I cut them in rectangles before but next time I'm going for hearts*

                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                          About 20 years ago when I did a lot of herb cooking we were warned to make sure the lavender we used had not been treated with oil for use as potpourri. Sounds like your co-worker might have used adulterted lavender. Two tablespoons in batter shouldn't be too much.

                                    2. re: foxy fairy

                                      Can't wait to try this! Does anyone know a great lavender white fudge recipe. Could also be dark chocolate. I've only found one using chocolate chips -- prefer a more exotic lavender fudge.

                                2. Kaffir Lime Mousse with Honeydew Water (contains shiso leaf) (Epicurious)
                                  Castagnaccio cake (contains rosemary) (Mario Batali, foodtv.com)
                                  strawberry shortcake with lemon verbena cream (Chez Panisse Fruit)
                                  Rosemary-buttermilk panna cotta with a strawberry-rhubarb compote and creme fraiche (Lucques restaurant)
                                  Honey-almond nougat glacé, rhubarb sorbet, strawberries, lemon balm syrup (Les Chèvres restaurant, Montreal)
                                  Peach soup with lemon balm and fromage blanc sorbet (Gordon Ramsay's Just Desserts)
                                  Lavender-Riesling Cheesecake (foodtv.ca)
                                  Pink Grapefruit salad, basil syrup, yogurt jelly, grapefruit sorbet (Toqué restaurant, Montreal)
                                  Buttermilk Creamsicle Panna Cotta (contains bay leaves) (foodandwine.com)

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: myriamseers

                                    THANKS FOXY! I see it now in the recipe...
                                    I think the amount sounds perfect!

                                    myriam...you have quite the collection~!

                                    1. re: lollya

                                      On a bit of a tangent.. this may not be a good herb for sweets, but does anyone have ideas for sage? I have a plant that is going crazy... must use!

                                        1. re: Texchef

                                          The following look interesting as sweet applications for sage, all from Epicurious:
                                          Almond Blancmange with Caramel Glaze and sage sherbet
                                          Pumpkin Cake with sage ice cream and pumpkin-cherry compote
                                          Apricot, cornmeal and sage cookies

                                          1. re: Texchef

                                            Sage is GREAT in sweets. It pairs beautifully with fruit -- especially peaches and apricots (fresh or dried), cherries, and mangos.

                                            I can also vouch for the apricot/cornmeal/sage cookies in myriamseers' post, above (from Gourmet, Feb. '97; on Epicurious at <http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...). Delicious!

                                            1. re: Texchef

                                              Sage goes well with tropical fruits... pineapple, fejoa, monstera.
                                              Also candied in a spiced pine nut brittle or brazil nut brittle.

                                              Anything that gets mint can be switched to basil generally.

                                              Coriander (cilantro leaf) makes a lovely syrup that goes well also with tropical fruits and bananas... think banana shortcake, grilled bananas, brazil ut praline-rum ice cream and a light drizzle of cilantro syrup...

                                            2. re: lollya

                                              lollya --- did you try the lavender shortbread???? I hope you liked it! Let me know how it turned out. I just bought more lavender today for the blueberry-lavender ice cream and I think I'll make some shortbread too. I think lavender shortbread would make a really snazzy gift in a little basket, wouldn't it? So unusual with that enticing lavender scent....

                                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                                oh foxy,
                                                I have yet to try it. I'm super pumped about it. Course I'd have to get some free time. I'm working days, nights and weekend right now for a launch project. ::sigh:: but I did replant my herbs, (they were growing themselves out of my windowbox already). I can't wait, hopefully this weekend, for my birthday I will get them done!

                                                I never did get that blueberry lavender ice cream recipe.....i think the shortbread would be AWESOME as a gift - also stuck in the ice cream. Where do you live foxy? I have a feeling we'd be fast friends.

                                            3. re: myriamseers

                                              I try :) Here's another, seasonal offering: strawberry-rhubarb shortcakes with strawberry-lavender sorbet, from Fresh in NYC.

                                              1. re: babette feasts

                                                I was just reading through the post, got to yours and just started laughing hysterically!

                                                1. re: KeriT

                                                  must have been the weed. ::wink::

                                              2. Make a warm sauce for ice cream with butter, fresh rosemary, lemon juice, honey, brandy, and seedless grapes. Serve with ginger snaps.

                                                1. I'm making a simple melon and herb dish tomorrow borrowed from Giada. It consists of melon balls (cantaloupe and watermelon) with a simple "sauce" or lemon juice, simple sugar, amaretto, basil and mint. A nice light dish for a hot summer day. (you can find the recipe on food tv's website)

                                                  1. I have had marvelous success using herbs in creme brulee. My favorites were lavender and bay leaf (sweet not savory). You may want to try that Lemon-basil. Try infusing your cream with your favorite herb...lemon verbeana and lemon zest might be nice.

                                                    1. When I went to get lemon basil I also got chocolate mint and cinamin mint - anyone try anything with these?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: KeriT

                                                        Flavored mints are best in uncooked dishes...the choc & cinnamon overtones tend to vanish once cooked. Use to flavor iced tea, in fruit salads or on berries, in mixed drinks, and such.

                                                        1. re: KeriT

                                                          capture the full scent by decorating the tops of cupcakes with the choc & cinnamon mint leaves.

                                                        2. I had a fabulous lavender tart in a cafe once, any suggestions on how i would make it? Would I just throw some lavender into the filling?

                                                          1. Just checked this out from the library: Desserts from an Herb Garden by Sharon Kebschull Barrett. Trying the Lemon Rosemary Cream Cake tonight.... LOTS of ideas in the book for flavored mints, flavored basil, etc.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: delaneymae

                                                              oh, this book looks wonderful, I may have to grab myself a copy - thanks!

                                                              1. re: delaneymae

                                                                Can you post the recipe for the lemon rosemary cream cake? That sounds delicious!!!!!!

                                                                1. re: laurendlewis

                                                                  I made lemon cream scones today -- maybe I'll try rosemary in the next batch! This scone recipe is utterly delicious. I added tart cherries but I think I'd enjoy contrasting the lemon with rosemary instead.

                                                                  I would also like the cake recipe. I'm going to try to find that book at my library too.

                                                                  Lemon Cream Scones: (check out the rave reviews!)

                                                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                    Do you think that it would be better to add finely chopped rosemary or to infuse the cream with it?

                                                              2. I remember cantaloupe ice served with a chiffonade of fresh basil. YUM! and refreshing.

                                                                1. The best i ever had was a blueberry pot de creme with sage shortbread. I don't have a recipe, I can't remember where I ate it but it is the best dessert I have ever eaten. The shortbread was crumbled up in blueberry custard, just a little bit of texture and a subtle yet noticeable sage flavor. Above the creme was a thin layer of blueberry conserve that tasted like perfectly ripe blueberries. If anyone has an idea of how to replicate I would love to hear it. Desserts are not what I am best at and I still dream about this dessert 6 years after having eaten it.

                                                                  1. Hey Keri, how much basil about did you use? I just got some lemon basil from my CSA and want to try this out, thanks

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. 'Made this fresh mint ice cream and brought to a party on Friday. Some had it plain, others drizzled homemade chocolate sauce (the hot fudge sauce from the Silver Palate, which I was raised on) into waffle cones before adding ice cream. I'll be making this again and again:


                                                                      1. Herb cheesecake (basils, thymes, mints) chop & swirl into batter before cake goes to oven
                                                                        Herb cupcakes, nice alternative for the adults at the party
                                                                        Herb rugelach, so far I've tried thyme, rosemary and dill with various chopped nuts

                                                                        1. www.cupcakeblog.com has a bunch of lovely cupcakes that use herbs. There's a section sorted by herbs (from the menu on the left) and another hiding in the "peach" section.