Orange Flower Water

I have been experiencing a serious case of withdrawal.

To calm you worries, its vacation withdrawal. But you know the symptoms: a sudden disinterest in your daily life, visions of permanently relocating to your dream location, a growing obsession with everything related to your new nationality. In my vision, I plan to permanently relocate to a small French village where I will open up a patisserie and make a living baking a variety of French delicacies. It also includes a French bulldog named Pierre, but no need to belabor over the details.

Yes, let it be known that after my two week vacation to France, I am having a hard time adjusting back to my normal life. What on earth did I do for a full two weeks? For starters, my dad and I embarked on a week-long self guided bike tour through the Loire valley. Over the course of 7 days we biked about 180 miles. Aside from the sore and achy muscles, we had an absolutely amazing time. It was a serious father-daughter bonding adventure, one not to be forgotten anytime soon. For the second week my mom joined up with us to visit Normandy and Brittany where we sampled the kouign-amann—a regional pastry delight. Imagine (if you can) a croissant, with more butter, and a caramelized sugar crust… it was to die for.

While in France, I searched for a French baking ingredient that I could bring back and share with you.  I found something I’d never heard of before… orange flower water. It’s an ingredient with an unfamiliar name, which actually has many familiar uses. Orange flower water is a distillation of fresh bitter-orange blossoms. The water is traditionally used in many French and Mediterranean dishes as a flavor enhancer. In France it’s used to flavor the popular dessert madeleines. You can swap it out with vanilla extract in a recipe to add a subtle orange flavor to your dish. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!

I have a few desserts in mind for my orange flower water, so don’t be surprised if you see it pop up in the future. I’m also thinking a few French desserts may be the perfect way to ease myself back into my post-vacation reality.

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