A dedicated rose enthusiast, Gordon founded the Rose Museum in St. Augustine, Florida in 1956. She also organized national rose exhibitions in the United States, lectured and published articles on the uses of roses, and was a member of the American Rose Society. Gordon wrote several rose-themed books including Pageant of the Rose, Rose Recipes: Customs, Facts, Fancies, and Immortal Roses: One Hundred Rose Stories, as well as Orange Recipes and Coffee Recipes. Although I could not find any information on the Rose Museum, operated from Gordon's home, the New York Botanical Garden's Library archives include a collection of Jean Gordon's papers: "newspaper clippings, photographs, notes, correspondence, journals, seed catalogs, book reviews, posters, photographic reproductions, booklets, leaflets, bibliographic index cards, and postcards" from the years 1950-80.
The Art of Cooking with Roses by Jean Gordon (New York: Walker & Co., 1968).
The Art of Cooking with Roses is particularly delightful, with uncomplicated recipes from around the world, including Turkish Rice Pudding (Kazandibi), courtesy of the Turkish Embassy, Chestnuts with Coffee Sauce, Indian Nut Custard, Scrambled Eggs with Rose Petals, Pickled Rosebuds, and Black-Eyed Carrots, cooked with black currants, butter and rosewater.
A recipe for crystallized rose petals caught my attention. Dipped in egg whites and dusted with sugar, the fragrant petals become crunchy like a delicate candy- a perfect decoration for cupcakes iced with Gordon's recipe for rose-flavored butter frosting.
Crystallized Rose Petals
Crystallized Rose Petals, from The Art of Cooking with Roses
Select highly scented fresh roses. Wash and dry well. Beat white of one egg to a foam. Dip small pastry brush (or use fingers) in egg white and brush well over sides of rose petals. Be certain that no surplus egg white remains on petal, but that both sides are moist. Shake granulated sugar on both sides and place on tray to dry in refrigerator.
Rose-Flavored Butter Cream Frosting, from The Art of Cooking with Roses
1/2 cup butter
1 lb sifted confectioners' sugar
dash of salt
4-5 Tbs rosewater
Cream butter with salt; add part of the confectioners' sugar gradually, blending after each addition. Add remaining sugar alternately with rosewater, beating vigorously after each addition until smooth and creamy. This amount should be enough to cover top and sides of two 9-inch layers, or 15 to 20 cupcakes.
Rose Cream Cupcakes Topped with Crystallized Rose Petals
For more on roses and gardens, including my rosewater recipe, see Rosewater: Essence of the Garden
& A Thousand Damask Roses