Dandelion & Honey Fritter

I attempted dandelion fritters last spring, and while I was happy with the overall recipe, the dandelion part came out a bit bitter. It was late that night, and I got lazy, so I left the sepals on– the green bottom part underneath the petals. This year, I picked only the yellow parts and discarded the sepals and voila! No bitter aftertaste. I'll admit it was tedious, but you only need a heaping cup's worth. If you have kids handy, put them to work. A little bit of green is unavoidable, and that's OK. They'll go undetected.

I like that these fritters aren't overly sweet. I used demerara sugar, which has a light molasses flavor. I'm pretty sure I got my bag at Walmart, but if for some reason you can't find it, substitute demerara with turbinado (e.g. Sugar in the Raw) or just regular sugar– although the end result will be sweeter with the regular. You can find the original recipe here, where I make a sugar glaze rather than honey: https://foodforhunters.blogspot.com/2018/05/dandelion-poppy-seed-and-lemon-fritters.html

If you Google "dandelion fritter" you'll get plenty of results. My recipe is a true fritter. Other dandelion "fritter" recipes seem to be little more than whole flowers dipped in pancake-like batter and fried face down. Call it fried dandelions, then, because that's no fritter. 

To me, a sweet fritter is almost bun-like, featuring a main ingredient and other supporting flavors that are bound together with just enough flour to make it cake-y but not overwhelmingly so. Think apple fritter– like a warm, slightly crispy, indulgent deep-fried muffin. It's got ragged edges. It looks imperfect– or as the Pioneer Woman would say, "rustic"– and that's part of the fritter's charm. My recipe calls for finishing these pastries with a warm honey-lemon glaze, which helps to tie all the flavors together. I'm not big on pastries– making nor eating them– but I'm actually quite proud of these.

This recipe is simple, and I hope you'll try it this spring. Maybe it'll help you see the maligned dandelion a little differently. What one person might consider a garden weed, another person might use it to feed mouths at the dinner table. Not to mention, dandelions are an important early-season food source for pollinators. Consider eating some this year, and leaving the rest for the butterflies and the bees. Our obsession with perfectly manicured lawns in this country is borderline insanity. 

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
- 1 heaping cup of dandelion flowers, sepals removed
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup of demerara sugar, or to taste
- 1½ teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/3 to ½ cup of whole milk 
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon of poppy seeds
- Vegetable/canola oil for frying
Honey-Lemon Glaze  
½ cup of honey
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1. In a deep frying pan, heat oil to 350° Fahrenheit.

While the oil is heating, combine dandelion flowers, flour, sugar, baking powder and poppy seeds in a bowl.

2. In a smaller bowl, lightly beat an egg and 1/3 cup of milk. Add it to the dry ingredients and stir to combine– do not overwork the batter. Add more milk if the mixture looks dry. It shouldn't look runny like pancake batter, but it shouldn't have the body of bread dough. Don't overthink it– fritters are forgiving.
3. With a large spoon, drop batter into the hot oil, making six equal-size globs– I couldn't think of a better word. Adjust heat as necessary; try to keep oil temperature between 300-325°. The fritters shouldn't touch, so you may have to fry them in batches depending on the size of your frying pan. 
When the first side turns golden brown, flip and fry the other side. Use a toothpick to check for doneness; if it comes out clean, it's cooked through. Drain on paper towels or cooling rack. 
4. Combine glaze ingredients and microwave for a few seconds to warm through. Glaze the fritters all over. Serve warm with leftover glaze on the side. Since the fritter itself isn't too sweet, I like to spoon on more honey with each bite.