As with other uses of essential oils, less is more when baking or cooking with them. You can always add, but cannot subtract, and essential oils typically take a bit of time to reveal how strongly their flavor will be. Too much Fennel, Nutmeg or Anise, for example, and you’ve got an effective teeth and gum numbing agent!
So experiment to find your flavor and strength. For example, I love to use 4 or more drops of Peppermint essential oil in a batch of brownies or chocolate chip cookies, and a single drop in a cup of hot cocoa (which my son adores!). A single drop of Fennel Seed essential oil is lovely in marinara or red sauce. My personal favorite is a few drops of Vanilla in Risotto, to which I have cooked in a handful of peeled and chopped Butternut squash. This recipe (I use a standard Risotto recipe, though I never measure. Google has great results if you need one, though) has been received with rave reviews over the years. It’s nourishing, rich enough to be enjoyable but not too heavy and easily made vegan. And It’s got an unmistakable fall/winter vibe, savory but a little sweet with the Vanilla and squash pairing. Great for brunch and dinner alike. Also try Anise in biscotti, replacing the seeds or extract. (Essential oils commonly used for cooking are usually steam distilled, and you can find CO2 extracted. So if you're interested in using them in raw cuisine, research further to decide what works for you personally. Note that the intensity of the oil flavor will integrate over time.)
Additional essential oils that make for adventurous and inspired additions to your baking and cooking: Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Orange, Lemon, Tangerine, Spearmint, Lavender, Cardamom, Coriander, Clove....the list goes on. Please remember: Essential oils are MUCH stronger than even extracts. A single drop can go very far. Rose oil tends to be too strong; use Rosewater instead, unless making a large recipe-where a single drop may enhance. Nature's way CAN be the best way. But it's also a potent way and the same care and research must be given to natural remedies as would be done for pharmaceuticals or any lifestyle choice.
And extreme conditions of the modern world often require a bit more in-your-face interactions, including from herbs, flowers and plants, alongside the wonderfully subtle vibrational tools available to us today. As such, safe application of essential oils can include cooking, massage oil, in a bath and other direct uses, in addition to aromatherapy. Key to success with these varied methods are: High quality oils, moderation and education, knowing which oils are appropriate for a given application. High quality essential oils are....essential! to successful use in food, drink, for personal wellness or beauty care. If your oil is diluted with cheaper oils, synthetics or perfumes, you will not receive their potent benefits and may in fact have an adverse reaction. If you apply an oil directly to the skin without diluting first, or use an oil that causes photo sensitivity or is otherwise very strong, you may well find that your skin does not approve! Common sense, education and sourcing the best ingredients give you the best opportunity to enjoy these powerful gems of nature.
Enjoy and indulge!
Cheers from Lady of the Lotus Botanicals!