As Tom Robbins wrote, “The beet is the most intense of vegetables.” But combining its deep earthy flavors with the light floral flavor of rose makes an unexpectedly good combination, which high-end pastry chefs such as Johnny Iuzzini have noticed. The two flavors balance each other out, and when added to sugar, they make a candy with a naturally pink color and surprisingly modern taste.
Special equipment: You will need a very clean coffee or spice grinder for this recipe.
You will also need about 20 (8-inch) paper straws.
To fill the paper straws, you will need a couple of pieces of paper, to cover your work surface and make a funnel with—any kind of paper will do. Alternatives to a paper funnel are a No. 16 Open Star or No. 5 Round piping tip. You will also need a toothpick.
What to buy: Rose water can be found in the ethnic aisle or alongside other baking extracts at gourmet grocers. It can also be found at Middle Eastern grocers or purchased online.
This recipe was featured as part of our Make Your Own Trixy Stix project for Halloween.
- 1Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- 2Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the grated beet in a thin, even layer. Bake until dry to the touch, about 1 hour. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the beet strips cool to room temperature—they will crisp up as they cool.
- 3Transfer the beets to a clean coffee or spice grinder and process into a fine powder. Add the sugar and rose water and pulse until combined.
- 4Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Pour the sugar powder into the strainer and sift it into the bowl, pressing against the powder with the back of a spoon to force it through the mesh. Return any larger bits left in the strainer to the grinder and process into a fine powder. Sift again and repeat with the grinding and sifting as needed until all of the sugar mixture is processed (you may have a few solids left to be discarded).
- 5Place a sheet of paper on a work surface. Have about 20 (8-inch) paper straws and a toothpick ready. Make a small funnel out of another piece of paper. (Make sure the tip fits into the end of the straws.) Alternatively, use a No. 16 Open Star or No. 5 Round piping tip.
- 6Fold up one end of a straw 1/4 inch. Fit the point of the funnel or piping tip into the open end of the straw. Holding the funnel or piping tip in place and working over the sheet of paper, spoon in about 1 1/4 teaspoons of the sugar mixture. Use the pointed end of the toothpick to poke the sugar mixture into the straw. Remove the funnel or piping tip and fold the open end of the straw down 1/4 inch to close. Repeat with the remaining straws and sugar.