Nom. Nom. Nom.
Just in time for Christmas!
As you are walking through the snowy forest, find a nice healthy spruce tree and snip off a few branches. Spruce smells nice, but it tastes even better…in a cookie!
Yes, there are few steps involved. But they are so worth it. This is not your average traditional Christmas cookie. But it will become a tradition, at least in my house it will.
SPRUCE FLAVORED SUGAR COOKIES
You will need to make the Spruce Infused Butter a day before (or at least in the morning, if you wish to bake these in the evening)!
Gather a few Spruce Branches. I used White Spruce. ‘Cut’ the needles off with scissors. I find this better than trying to ‘strip’ the needles off the branch…they are a bit prickly. Cut enough for 1 heaping cup.
Take your one cup of needles and rinse them. Dry them as best as possible (I spread mine out onto a pan and let it sit for an hour). Place the needles in double boiler, and add 1 cup salted butter and 1 cup of Lard. Bring double broiler to a gentle boil, and keep you mixture on the stovetop 4-6 hours. The longer on the stovetop infusing, the more flavor of the Spruce will come out. Mix on occasion…and be sure not to let your pot boil dry. Do not let you mixture get above 135 degrees…this can cause your needles to ‘cook’. So a thermometer may be handy. Oh, the reason I use Salted Butter, is that way, I don’t need to add any in the recipe, and butter adds a nice rounded flavor. Also, I use Lard because it has no flavor to over take the Spruce flavor I’m wishing to achieve. All butter can mask the spruce flavor, and all lard can make the spruce flavor overpowering. Butter and Lard together, helps balance the flavor out.
Once done. Strain out the needles. There may be a bit of grey runny foam. Spoon out of the mixture. Place your Spruce Infused butter on counter over night to cool. Before you use it, you have two choices: 1) poke a hole into the butter to the bottom of the container…there may be a bit of that grey runny foam that settled on the bottom. Drain out, if there is any. 2) Don’t try to disturb it…just leave it be (it’s only a small amount). The butter should smell like Spruce. The taste may be over powering as well. Don’t worry…it will mellow out in the baked cookies.
Now, onto the cookies: Get some Christmas Music on. I personally like putting on Youtube and listening a fun, upbeat Indie Folk music playlist. Get your equipment out, roll up your sleeves and get a move on!
SUGAR COOKIES: Spruce
1 cup of Spruce Infused Butter
½ Cup of Lightly Packed Brown Sugar (Golden Yellow Brown Sugar works best)
1 Cup of White Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp Baking Powder
3 cups of Sifted White Flour
4-5 TBSP of Milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream together Spruce Infused Butter, brown sugar and white sugar, until well mixed. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well, until nice and creamy. Add baking powder and sifted flour. It may be crumbly. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball.
Dust your countertop with flour, and place ½ of your cookie dough on top. Roll out until its 1/4in thick. If dough sticks to the rolling pin or countertop, dust with more flour. Cut into desired shapes. Place on lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Repeat with the other half of cookie dough. Reform left over dough (you may have to wet your hands with water, to help moisten the cookie dough), roll out and cookie cut again. Makes 18-24 cookies depending on size of cookie cutter (small cookie cutter = more, larger cookie cutter = less)
Place on cooling racks and cool completely before adding frosting.
SPRUCE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
½ cup Spruce Infused Butter
2 cups of Sifted Powdered Icing Sugar
½ tsp of Lemon extract or Orange extract
Green Gel food coloring
1-2 TBSP of milk
Add butter and lemon or orange extract to a mixing bowl and mix until completely combined. As Spruce has a bit of a citrus flavor to it, the orange or lemon extract flavor really compliments it and adds an extra zing to it. Do not do this frosting without this extract! It falls flat by itself despite the Spruce Flavor.
Add Powdered Sugar and beat on low until it is incorporated. Turn speed to medium. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Frosting may appear dry; add milk a little bit at a time until frosting is the proper consistency. The Spruce Buttercream Frosting should have a firm consistency. Once you have the proper consistency, add green food coloring until you reached your desired color.
Frost cookies, placing frosting between two cookies, if desired.
If you have a real Christmas Tree in your home, eat this cookie beside it for an extra special Christmassy experience!
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!