A Wimbledon cook has created a new range of festive brownies, which combine edible flowers and sustainable ingredients to make the perfect Christmas gift.
The Blushing Cook, real name Sammi Gascoyne, launched her business in 2019, building on her experience at Le Cordon Bleu, Michelin Star La Gavroche, and as Head Chef at Peggy Porschen in Belgravia.
She started baking from her flat in West London before moving to a kitchen workshop near Wimbledon, motivated by ‘the desire to create something fresh and new.’
Sammi originally thought about pursuing a completely new venture and starting a food blog, but was asked by various friends to make their wedding cakes, so she quickly returned to baking.
Having autonomy in her own kitchen meant that Sammi could create things exactly the way she wanted.
She said: “Flavour and sourcing the right ingredients is just as important to me as decoration.”
It was then that Sammi discovered edible flowers.
After ordering some to use in new cake designs, she found that they wilted after just a few days.
She said: “I thought back to pressing flowers with my grandmother in her garden, and how she taught me to do it between the pages of books.
“I took out my patisserie bible and tried it. The results ended up being what is now the signature Blushing Cook design, our pressed edible Meadow Flower Cake.”
Sammi has since experimented with other methods, crystallising the flowers with egg whites or sugar and drying petals in the oven. “There are endless possibilities for beautiful designs!” she told SWL.
As well as creating artistic designs, Sammi is keen to ensure her brownies and other baked goods are sustainable and consider the environment.
The food colouring she uses for decorating the brownies and buttery biscuits is made with fruit and vegetable-based dyes and the packaging is fully recyclable.
Handmade stamps decorate the boxes and carbon-neutral delivery services are used to send the baked goods to customers.
All the chocolate used is made from 100% sustainable cocoa and supports the global Cocoa Horizons Foundation.
Established in 2015, The Cocoa Horizons Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities by promoting sustainable and entrepreneurial farming.
Cocoa Horizons develops communities and improves productivity to protect nature and prevent child labour.
All farms registered with the foundation are required to have not deforested for at least five years before registration.
By using chocolate from businesses that support this charity, Sammi hopes that her cakes and festive brownies can create a broad positive sustainable and social impact.
The bakery uses suppliers based in the UK wherever possible.
The flour used is milled in the UK and eggs are sourced locally. The edible wildflowers which are so key to the artistic decoration are grown on a farm in Devon and handpicked by a small family business, Maddock’s farm.
The farm work very hard to grow their produce sustainably, avoiding pesticides and encouraging wildlife.
Due in part to Brexit, shortages of HGV lorry drivers, and other factors, food shortages have been a concern across the UK in recent months.
Chocolate and confectionary supplies in particular are running low.
Nestle have reported supply chain problems and Dairy company Arla, which supplies milk to UK supermarkets, has reduced the number of deliveries it is able to make.
For those struggling to get their usual sweet fix, Sammi’s brownies with their locally sourced ingredients may be the perfect solution.
Sammi was keen to tell SWL that her bakery can incorporate allergen requests.
The bakery makes gluten-free and vegan brownies and works hard to cater to everyone.
They do advise however, that while they have strict measures to avoid cross-contamination, the kitchen does work with most of the allergens and may contain traces.
When asked what her favourite design from this year’s festive brownie range was, Sammi said: “The Merry Christmas Brownies.
“We worked with Emma Block, an illustrator, to create a beautiful edible Christmas card and contemporary alternative to the Christmas cake.”
The Merry Christmas brownies are topped with white chocolate and festive ‘Merry Christmas’ lettering is framed in a garland of organic edible flowers.
You can never go far wrong with a brownie and with the Blushing Cook’s beautiful designs, ability to cater for allergies, and sustainable baking practices, there is no doubt that these festive bakes will go down a treat!
For those who want a taste for themselves, Sammi’s kitchen workshop at Merton Abbey Mills is open to visit every Saturday from 10am – 5.30pm.
You can order from the bakery online for nationwide delivery until 23 December here.
The brownies are delivered overnight and last up to ten days, although making them last that long will be an impressive feat for something so delicious.
Photo credit: Blushing Cook