Hyssop leaves and flowers taste a lot like mint, but with more floral character and a pleasant bitterness. Like lavender, hyssop evokes spring meadows and may turn off cooks by its aromatic resemblance to freshly laundered towels. But it's an herb with a lot to offer: a grown-up mint with intense, complex flavor, and it dries excellently.
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[Photograph: Max Falkowitz] Like lavender, hyssop really comes into its own with desserts. Dried leaves can be infused into any water-based liquid, unlocking their full flavor. I wanted to take advantage of sponge cake's high water content to carry hyssop's...
Lavender is a surprisingly versatile dessert ingredient with a strong affinity to cream. It's a love-it-or-hate-it kind of herb, but the creaminess subdues its at-times overwhelming intensity. Hyssop has largely fallen out of Western culinary use, which is a shame given its long history dating back to ancient times. Fortunately it's increasingly common in gardens and at farmers' markets.