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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

California Gourmet: Sweet and Savory Treats from the Theodore Payne Garden Tour

Theodore Payne Tour - 2018

The Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour celebrates the use of California native plants in gardens.  We’ve been honored to participate in this tour several times – including this year. 

One of the ways we like to share native plants is through food.  We offered several new ‘California Gourmet’ treats at this year’s garden tour.  Visitors seemed to enjoy these native plant inspired/flavored foods.   We’d like to share several of the recipes with you.

Minty Melting Moments Cookies


1 ½ cups + 1 Tbsp.  all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter (unsalted is best), softened to room temperature (substitute margarine for part of the butter, if desired)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. native mint kitchen extract*
1-2 drops green food coloring (if desired)


Sift together flour, cornstarch and salt.  In another bowl (or in bowl of mixer) cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Add in extracts and food coloring (if desired) and mix well.   Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until well blended.
Chill dough for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).  Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or lightly grease).  Roll dough into 1-inch balls with your hands.  Place about 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.  Press down on the top of each cookie with the tines of a fork to give it a nice pattern (cookies should be about ¼ to 1/3 inch thick).  Bake 12-15 minutes, or until just beginning to show some golden color.  Remove from oven, let cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet and let cool all the way on a cooling rack.

When cookies are completely cool, frost with a thin icing made by combining powdered sugar and 1-2 Tbsp. native mint extract. Frosting should be thin; brush on with a pastry brush.  Let icing dry completely, then store in airtight tins or cookie jar.   They probably will be gobbled up pretty quickly!
* Native mint extracts are made by extracting the flavor from a native mint using vodka.  They can be made from any of the California native mints: Mentha, Monardella, Pycnanthemum or Clinopodium and Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) are what we use most.    For more on making native plant extracts see: http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2016/04/california-gourmet-making-flavored.html

Chickpea Flatbread with Herbed Drizzling Oil [Gluten-Free]

1 cup chickpea flour1 cup water
2-4 tablespoons chives, minced (can also use edible native onion like Allium haematochiton)
1 tsp. dried, ground California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) or Salvia (your choice)
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, mix the water and chickpea flour until well combined. It will be a wetter batter but don’t worry, it’ll firm up in the oven. Stir in the chives, parsley/native herbs and salt.

Let mixture sit at room temperature 1-2 hours.   Skim off foam.

Line a baking sheet (with sides) or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.   Pour the batter onto the parchment paper and spread out evenly.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the sides begin to brown.

Let cool and cut into squares.   Drizzle with California Gourmet Drizzling Oil just before eating.


California Gourmet Drizzling Oil
Place chopped fresh* California native herbs (Salvia; Artemisia; Mints; your choice) in a glass jar.  Cover herbs with olive oil.  Cover tightly and let site for 2-3 days to develop flavor.  Strain out the larger plant parts.  Drizzle over Chickpea Flatbread or use as a dipping sauce or salad dressing.   Refrigerate to store (up to 2 months).


For more cookie recipes see: http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2015/03/california-gourmet-berry-dream-bar.html and http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2016/04/california-gourmet-three-cookies.html



We encourage you to send us your questions, comments and recipes (either comment below or e-mail to us at : mothernaturesbackyard10@gmail.com)



  1. It was a real pleasure to stop by and taste the California garden as well as see it. Thanks.

  2. Always happy to share our treats. Nice to see you as well!