Sweet Treats

Yes, I sometimes cook with them too, but honestly, the fun comes with making sweets. Remember essential oils dissolve in fats/oils.

If this is new to you, please remember something: Be careful! I hear people blathering on about taking essential oils in capsules, and this is not the same thing at all. Nothing similar. Don't do that. Your liver doesn't appreciate it.

It's another thing entirely to use essential oils to flavor foods. Happily, the most receptive foods are sweets. Yes, we all try not to eat much sugar, and dairy is scary, I know, but credit where credit is due. The sugared family of foods is happy to accept essential oils (and some absolutes) as a flavoring. Dairy is another glorious helper.

Hard Candy: so simple, yet a perfect celebration of any essential oil you're obsessed with. Lavender, rose, orange, geranium, peppermint, gardenia enfleurage, even jasmine......spruce, pine, ylang ylang.....It's just harsh white sugar, corn syrup, a candy thermometer that goes to "hard crack" and your favorite essential oil or blend. Take it easy though--essential oils are super strong and your concoction will be inedible if too many drops are added. My advice is never drop directly from the bottle; always make a little weigh station of a spoon or some such. You can find recipes online and many will use peppermint. You can substitute your oil of choice for that. And you can always make it stronger. But take care.....some of your favorite smells might taste bitter as heck. Sandalwood, immortelle, don't do it.

Ice Cream/Gelato: I used to make frankincense ice cream in Salalah, Oman, for the summer festival. I used about 1 drop per (small, about 70 gram) serving. Americans might prefer a more subtle taste. But I personally find most recipes absurdly faint. To my mind, if you have to concentrate in quietude to taste the flavor, you didn't use enough. But if it tastes like you're eating perfume, be more careful next time and use less. In my opinion, the cradle of sweet cream makes a perfect bed for the austerity of frankincense. But it's also perfect for spruce. It's also perfect for rose. It's also perfect for neroli. It's also perfect for jasmine sambac, maybe with orange. You can combine with fruits. You could do vanilla bean pods and cardamom and cinnamon bark oils. And top it with caramel. Date caramel even. Literally the sky is the limit. I was so inspired once I started experimenting, that I went to Gelato school in Italy. True story.

Chocolate Truffles: You can absolutely make phenomenal chocolate truffles using essential oils, and why not? The inside of your truffle is chocolate and a bit of cream, so once again the cream is a friend of essential oils. Yes, you can make them vegan too, using coconut cream, or whatever you like. Again, it's the same group that works well in gelato: rose, geranium, cinnamon, frankincense, spruce, neroli, peppermint, jasmine absolute....Take care, don't use too much, as your batch will be ruined. But remember it has to stand up to your chocolate, albeit with the help of cream and sugar. If you are new to chocolate making, find a recipe you like, probably using peppermint oil. And use that as your base, substituting out the peppermint to whatever you want to use . I did a week on chocolate truffes in Italy too.....again, really super fun.

Cake: of course essential oils are perfect, especially in frosting. You could make a vanilla cake with rose frosting. Or a rose cake with geranium frosting. Or any other thing that sounds good to you. In my opinion this is a bit different than the gelato, hard candy and truffles, in that the taste has to be a bit softer. And you will probably always have a friend in vanilla. A piece of cake is larger than a truffle, or a hard candy, and a stronger flavor that might be well enjoyed for a bite or two might be tiresome over 10-15 bites. Probably one or two drops of any essential oil will be enough to give a perfect hint of ambrosia flavor to your cake. But again, it's up to you.


A note on the absolutes: Many people ask about this, and in my opinion, of you are worried about using jasmine absolute, then don't use it. Maybe energetically it's different in some way. But they were originally used as flavors and continue to this day. The amount used is tiny, and you're talking about the trace element of hexane, which shouldn't be there in any case. I think that if the idea of using absolutes in a sweet treat freaks you out, then don't do it. Go for a distilled oil instead. Otherwise, carry on.


My idea here was just to share a bit; essential oils are so much more exciting and fun than they are sometimes portrayed as. I feel like there's not as much awareness of the fun of making food with essential oils, and honestly, there's more fun in chocolate truffles than in a pasta salad using thyme or dill essential oil. That can be good;  I use it myself sometimes, but if it can make you laugh and treat your friends, and get excited, and mad experiment, then so much the better.