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Orange Flower Water and Rose Water-How do you like to cook with these?

A good friend brought me back from their travels a bottle of orange flower water and a bottle of rose water. I hang my head as I admit that I have only used the orange flower water with a few sprinkles in a cake here and there. But the bottle remains almost full and the rose water is untouched. Do you have any recipes you like to use these ingredients in? Any savory recipes? Thanks!

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  1. I use them when I bake.

    The orange flower water is a common flavoring for pound cake or to soak a l yellow cake before icing it.

    Rose water is necessary for Greek and middle eastern pastries like baklava.

    1. I have used orange flower water to make baklava(sp?)
      I have also used a bit of it in balsamic vinager with savory dishes and in brown butter over popcorn.

      rose waster I have put in ice cubes and used in hybiscus ice tea...I also have used a bit in berry reductions with a touch of mint over vanilla ice cream....

      1. i put a little bit of rose water in to basmati rice

        or use it in recipes like http://www.food.com/recipe/shirin-pol...

        1. The Rose of Persia Cake, for which you can google Crescent Dragonwagon's recipe, uses rose water. It is a sort of pound cake which is noteworthy for containing chickpea flour. The basic flavor is lemon, pistachio, and cherry; a very nice cake.

          2 Replies
          1. re: greygarious


            Do you think it would work with canned sour cherries rather than reconstituted dry ones? I find dry cherries too sweet.

            1. re: thymetobake

              Mail order sour cherries from nuts.com

          2. When I visited Morocco, I had a seriously delicious dessert that uses orange flower water and it is also extremely simple. It is basically oranges sprinkled with orange flower water, cinnamon, and sugar.

            1 Reply
            1. re: stockholm28


              This is a regular staple on my brunch table. Thinly-sliced navel oranges sprinkled with orange blossom water and cinnamon (I don't bother with sugar). No matter how many I make, they always get snarfed down.

              Seriously, if you're reading this and you happen to have a bottle of orange blossom water, it's something you desperately need to try. You'll boggle.

            2. i use them when i prepare baked custard or rice pudding.

              i have also ued them when making sorbet-

              1. Either is good in a mixture of carrot and orange juice. You're going to go through them slowly because a little goes a long way.

                I've had cakes that used rosewater icing. It was delicious in one but the other used too much and it was cloying.

                1. both are used approximately like you'd use vanilla extract -- as a flavoring in baked goods.

                  1. Lots of Indian and Middle Eastern Sweets call for Rose Water and or Orange Flower Water
                    I regularly use Rose Water with Strawberries.
                    Orange Flower Water goes into my Langues de chat,Biscuits à la Cuillère,and Genoise depending on the application.

                    1. A few drops in cocktails works great. I also use it when making grenadine for cocktails. Also try adding a few drops to juices.


                      1. We use orange flower water in our wheat pies for Easter.


                        1. I use orange flower water in Nancy Silverton's sbrisolona recipe and in Ramos Gin Fizzes.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: emily

                            Ah yes, Emily!! You beat me to it...a Ramos Gin Fizz.

                          2. Sometimes, I put a few drops of either in simple syrup for drinks or baklava type desserts.

                            1. I use tiny drops of rosewater for finishing some Indian desserts, especially rasmalai. However, 1/8 tsp is more than enough, usually, 'cause it's very strong.

                              1. I second the use in cocktails, for either one. For a specific suggestion, try grapefruit juice, vodka, fresh lime juice, rosemary and rose water. Add a little simple syrup if you like sweeter drinks. I think I used 2:1 juice to vodka (greyhound ratio).

                                1. I use tiny bit of orange flower water to bump up the flavour in fruit almost anywhere I can. Great in fruit salads (especially good with strawberries and stone fruits). Also great in jam and in fruit tarts.

                                  1. I had orange flower ice cream at a Persian ice cream shop in west los angeles and it was fabulous! It was like eating perfume without the alcohol. Heavenly. They have lots of intersesting flavors including saffron pistachio with rose water. Wonderful.
                                    And a cucumber ice cream perfect on a hot summer day!

                                    1. I made the Roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts, and honey a few weeks ago (from Ottolenghi, the cookbook) which was finished with a rough paste of honey, hazelnuts, and 2 T rose water. This was my first experience with using a flavored water other than orange water in desserts. While it was an enjoyable dish the rosewater was overpowering and too floral tasting. I agree with other posts that only a small amount should be used, especially if it is a new ingredient.

                                      here is a reprint of the recipe, if you are interested


                                      What a beautiful, thoughtful gift

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                                        Recipe looks good, except 2 tablespoons of rose water--you're right, that's a whole bouquet of rose flavor in one dish. I'll try the recipe, but with 1/4 of that amount.

                                        1. re: pine time

                                          rose water can get cloying, and then downright off-putting when used too freely.

                                          A friend of mine insisted it was reminiscent of her grandmother's bathroom.

                                            1. re: Gail

                                              but yeah, it can get a little overpowering.

                                              There's a small town east of Paris where the first cultivated roses were planted after being brought back from the crusades.

                                              You can buy rose ice cream and rose-petal jam (which is absolutely lovely when it's a pale crystal pink with diaphanous rose petals suspended in the mixture)

                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                              And I thought I was the only one. Whenever I open a bottle of rosewater I feel as if I should be dabbing it on my wrists, not putting it in my food.

                                              1. re: rockycat

                                                It's one of those things that's really lovely in moderation, but smells like your grandmother's powder room when it's not in moderation.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  My grandmother mixed rosewater and glycerin to use as hand lotion.

                                        2. I had it in a dressing for a citrus salad at a Greek restaurant in San Francisco. It was divine.

                                          1. My favorite is a pistachio-rose water sweet made in Indian sweet shops. You buy this delight by the pound. The product is kept in a silver box inside is this long rope a fudge-like treat and the rope is cut to the length you wish to purchase. Even after all these years, I do not know what this sweet is called. But the confection is green in color, semi firm, and contains bits of pistachio nut, cardamom and rose water. So tasty. Every time I ask the store owner, what is this called, I get a shrug. Anyone know?

                                            Orange flower water I use mostly in crepe batter.

                                            1. I have been using orange blossom water in my Rosh Hashana honey cake (which, by the way, is also good at other times of year). I think I based this recipe off of an Israeli recipe blog's, but made some adjustments:

                                              Ingredients for the batter:

                                              1/3 cup vegetable oil and/or apple sauce (I used a bit more than 1/6 cup apple sauce, and a bit less than 1/6 cup oil. Definitely use at least *some* oil, since this will keep it moister.

                                              1/3 cup honey
                                              2/3 cup white sugar
                                              2 tsp vanilla
                                              1 egg
                                              1 tsp cinnamon
                                              1/2 cup strong, hot tea (I used Good Earth chai tea, which was great cause of all the spices. But any kind of tea would work. Apparently coffee could work too.)

                                              pinch of salt
                                              pinch of nutmeg
                                              3/4 tsp baking powder
                                              3/4 tsp baking soda
                                              1 cup flour, plus 1 extra T of flour

                                              Ingredients for the syrup:

                                              1/3 cup water
                                              slightly less than 1/3 cup sugar
                                              1-2 T of honey
                                              1 T of orange blossom water (if you have it). I liked the addition of this floral taste, since it brought out the honey flavor of the bread.


                                              Make the strong tea. Mix honey, oil/applesauce and sugar in large bowl. Add the hot tea. Add the egg, beaten. Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Add the baking soda, baking powder. Then add the flour and mix well. The final batter should be on the liquidy-side.
                                              Grease a loaf pan, and transfer the batter to the loaf pan. Bake at 360 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
                                              Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the water, sugar and honey in a pot and bring to a simmer, stirring to incorporate everything. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes at low heat, then add the orange blossom water, then simmer a minute or two longer. The syrup should start to thicken. Add orange blossom water to the syrup.

                                              Still in the loaf pan, poke holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick. Then pour the syrup over the entire loaf, letting the syrup soak into the cake.
                                              Let the cake cool, then eventually slice and eat. The top of the cake will be sticky from the syrup.
                                              That’s it!!!

                                              As far as rose water goes, I hate the stuff, so I don't have any great ideas :)

                                              1. There's also a recipe in Claudia Roden's book Arabesque that is couscous "stuffing" and it has orange blossom water in it. I really liked it, but the taste is apparently too strong for some: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/387066

                                                1. I use Rose water in Marzipan preparations. At this time of year I go through at least 10 pounds of Almond paste. (Besides making pralines - I add Almond paste to Stollen and bake Bethmänchen)
                                                  Regarding Pralines:
                                                  As a minimum - to the Almond Paste I add Rose water, powdered sugar, knead it together and form good size balls, cover with Chocolate, push a walnut on top. I have played around adding to this (crystallized Ginger as example) in recent years.

                                                  1. I purchased rose water from the King Arthur flour store years ago. There was a recipe from King Arthur which included the rose water in the apple pie. I still always include some drops of rose water in my apple pies.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. My classic recipe for Madeleines (which I got somewhere when living in Boston in the 1980s) calls for cake flour, clarified butter , lemon zest and orange flower water....these little cake-like cookies are addictive. The orange flower water gives them a sort of ethereal taste and aroma...fantastic with hot or iced tea. I've never thought of trying them with rose water, but I bet they would be equally as beguiling. I use both in cocktails and with fruits. Going to try the tip someone gave of using the rose water in apple pie...that sounds fantastic. How about apple-quince-pear pie with a spritz of rose water!?

                                                      1. Wow. You guys are pouring out ideas. Thanks very much and especially for taking the time to post full recipes. I am very intrigued by the savory dishes, which will help me get through the bottles without eating just sweets! Thanks again.

                                                        1. I use rose water far more often than orange flower water. I like just a very few drops of rose water on sliced, slightly sugared strawberries.

                                                          I also use them both in cooked shredded carrots and raisins in an Afghani/Iranian style.

                                                          1. The orange flower water is used in making panettone and gives its distinctive flavor.

                                                            Rose water is lovely in rasmalai with cardamom. I vastly prefer rose water to saffron in rasmalai.

                                                            Rose water is also used in knafeh, although the version at Ilili uses orange flower blossom.

                                                            1. I like to add a bit of orange flower water to orange glazes and icings; about 1/2 tsp. in either an orange juice-powdered sugar glaze or a cream cheese icing with orange zest adds a nice layer of flavor and a bit of je ne sais quoi.

                                                              Orange flower water is also good in a salad with oranges dressed with citrus juice and olive or nut oil, like this Moroccan lettuce and orange salad from Claudia Roden: http://books.google.com/books?id=r723...

                                                              A little bit of rosewater is wonderful in a raspberry icing (I beat some raspberry jam into buttercream or cooked flour icing and add rosewater to taste).

                                                              I also loved this almond yogurt cake soaked with lime-rosewater syrup (I used a bit more yogurt and a bit less oil). Make it a day before you'll serve it, so the syrup can really saturate it. http://eattherightstuff.squarespace.c...

                                                              1. Traditional Tea Cakes "Shrewsbury Cakes" (shortbread) is a delicious cookie flavored with rosewater and nutmeg. Many recipes online. I like this version the best.

                                                                1. Both subcontinental dishes and middle eastern dishes call for these two.
                                                                  I regularly use rosewater in my plain pilau or biryiani. A dash in the chicken gravy too.

                                                                  As for desserts the list is endless, Indian style rice pudding, baklava, o'mali, shi'ir khurma, shahi tukra and so much more.

                                                                  You can also use them to jazz up your lemonade or iced tea.

                                                                  1. Ashta is an absolutely heavenly Lebanese dessert (actually I think it's a filling for other desserts, but I've only had it on its own at a Lebanese restaurant in LA) that uses both orange water and rose water. Here's a recipe:


                                                                    1. You must try definitely try the Basbousa Cake. Its yum. And even though Rose water is added in the syrup, it is not at all over powering.

                                                                      1. All of the above, but I have also added a few drops of either into a hot cup of tea, to great effect.

                                                                        1. Orange flower water for madeleines and coque catalane a la creme, so good.

                                                                          1. I use both for flavor while baking. My grandmother makes a special pudding with avocado in which she uses rose water. It gives the pudding an entirely different flavor.

                                                                            1. Gulab Jamon is best made with rose water. Mango lassi is delicious with a little rose water. Rose lassi is also made with rose but may be an acquired taste if you are not used to eating rose water. Rose water is really good in some middle eastern pastries and desserts including baklava.

                                                                              A friend from Spain asked me to make a dessert that is basically fresh squeezed orange juice poured over vanilla ice cream (I had homemade vanilla ice cream). I added just a drop of orange water to to orange juice part. This was served after a glorious seafood paella. It was really good.