Add Spice to Your Holiday Menu with Juniper Berries

Want to add a new twist to your holiday dishes? With a “piney” flavor similar to rosemary and undertones of citrus, juniper berries add an earthy richness to a wide variety of dishes. Technically not a berry – junipers are a part of the pine family –   they are part of a cone that develops on the plants.

 There is no better method to incorporate some plant-based recipes this holiday season to delight your vegan, vegetarian, and plant-forward family and friends!

Custom Craft Cocktails

One of the most popular uses of juniper berries is making gin. Why not treat your guests (and yourself) to a craft cocktail? Make a simple syrup and create your very own signature cocktail! Here’s a recipe to get you started.

Pining for You

1 1/2 ounces of good-quality gin

1 ounce Juniper Berry Simple Syrup* Recipe Below

1 ounce Orange Juice

Ice Cubes

Cold Club Soda

Fresh Rosemary Sprigs

Add the first three ingredients to a tall glass and stir. Fill glass halfway with ice cubes. Add club soda to top and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Juniper Berry Simple Syrup

20 dried juniper berries

3 cardamom pods

1 organic orange (reserve flesh for juice)

1 cup spring or purified water

1 cup organic cane sugar

Fresh rosemary sprigs

  • Lightly crush the juniper berries with a mortar and pestle or a heavy kitchen tool such as a rolling pin (or a bottle of wine!). Repeat with the cardamom pods.
  • Next, peel the orange. Use a paring knife, start at the top and slice through the peel vertically from the top to the bottom of the orange. Repeat, cutting peel into thin strips.
  • Add juniper berries, cardamom pods, orange peel, and water to a medium saucepan. Using medium heat bring just to a boil. Reduce heat, stir in sugar, and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.
  • Strain and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to two weeks.

Sweeten Up Your Celebrations

These cookies take a bit of time to put together and chill. Crunchy on the outside, and fudgy in the middle, and a zing of juniper.

Trust us… they are worth the extra effort!

Chocolate Hazelnut Juniper Spice Cookies

    2 teaspoons whole juniper berries

    3 sticks unsalted vegan butter, softened

    1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

    ½   teaspoon fine sea salt

    2    teaspoons organic vanilla

    1¾  cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

    ¾  cup Dutch cocoa powder 

    ¾  cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts, roughly chopped 

    ¾  cup vegan dark chocolate, roughly chopped

    1. cup organic cane sugar 


    1. Place the juniper berries in a dry pan. Heat the pan over medium heat, to dry roast the berries for a few minutes. (You will start to smell the juniper berries when they are ready.)
    2. Remove from the heat and let the juniper berries cool down. Place the cooled juniper berries in a spice grinder (or use a mortar and pestle) and grind them to a powder; it will be slightly wet and sticky.
    3. Add the butter, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and juniper berry powder to a large bowl. Mix until the butter and sugar just until well mixed and creamy – do not beat until light and fluffy.
    4. Fold in the sifted flour and sifted cocoa powder by hand.
    5. Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate chunks until they are evenly dispersed.
    6.  Divide the dough in half.
    7. Roll each half into a 2 – 2 ½ inch diameter log. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours until firm or overnight.
    8. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    9. Sprinkle the raw sugar on a separate sheet of parchment paper.
    10. Unwrap one of the cookie dough logs and roll the log in the raw sugar. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into approximately quarter-inch thick slices. NOTE: slices may be uneven – reshape and roll edges in sugar again as needed.
    11. Place the cookie slices on the lined baking sheet. Each log should make about 10 -12 cookies.
    12. Cover the lined baking sheet with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. Do not skip this step
    13. Preheat oven to 325 F.
    14. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes. The cookie edges will be slightly firm, and the middle will be soft when you take them out of the oven.
    15. Let cool for a few minutes, then use a flat spatula to transfer carefully to a wire rack.
    16. Repeat with the second cookie log and the second cookie sheet.
    17. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature.
    Lori Rodgers – After 25 years running the family business and writing for My Cooking Magazine as their vegan expert, Lori is thrilled to announce the launch of Vegan Friendly Cooking, her online cooking school where she offers courses that show you how easy, delicious, and affordable it is to cook with plants. From the vegan-curious to longtime vegans, it is a welcoming community for anyone interested in including more plant-based foods into their meals.

    For 25 years Lori ran the family business, Bert Rodgers Schools of Real Estate, indulging her cooking hobby by whipping up meals for family and friends on the weekends. Her two sons adopted vegan lifestyles while in their early teens, adding a new challenge to Lori’s cooking repertoire. Now that her sons are young adults, she is following her two passions…cooking and teaching…and spreading the love of nature’s bounty.

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