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
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
- cup organic cane sugar
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Fold in the sifted flour and sifted cocoa powder by hand.
- Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate chunks until they are evenly dispersed.
- Divide the dough in half.
- 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.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the raw sugar on a separate sheet of parchment paper.
- 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.
- Place the cookie slices on the lined baking sheet. Each log should make about 10 -12 cookies.
- Cover the lined baking sheet with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. Do not skip this step
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- 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.
- Let cool for a few minutes, then use a flat spatula to transfer carefully to a wire rack.
- Repeat with the second cookie log and the second cookie sheet.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature.