I have succeeded in getting this post finished just in time for the waning crescent moon. I should preface this recipe with the fact that I am not a roll out cookie girl. I am more of a drop from a spoon girl, so this is a bit of a stretch. On to some kitchen witchery! First, I would be remiss if I did not talk about the very magical ingredient in these cookies, juniper berries. Juniper berries are not a berry at all, but part of the cone of a female juniper tree. They have a spicy, woodsy taste and is used quite frequently in incense. My favorite personal incense is juniper berry based and it is quite amazing. It is also the main component in gin and gives it a distinctive taste. Juniper has been used magically for protection and purification. Medicinally, the berries have many attributes. They are good for heart health and a natural diuretic. They have been known to cure insomnia and have astringent type properties as well. There is even some suggestion that they may be protective from some types of viruses and cancer. Makes you want to eat some right now doesn’t it? Juniper berries can be found anywhere bulk spices can be purchased.
Grind 2-3 Tablespoons of juniper berries to a fine powder using a coffee bean grinder. Mix this with 1/2 cup of Turbinado sugar. Place in a container and let sit at least overnight so the flavor has time to mingle with the sugar.
You can use any simple three ingredient shortbread for the base of these cookies. I have seen simple recipes only using butter powdered sugar and flour. This is what I used:
1 cup butter softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purposed flour
2 teaspoons ground juniper berries
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk or cream
gel food coloring (I used yellow)
Instructions for cookies
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure your rack is in the middle position in the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment or other liner.
2. Beat softened butter until fluffy and then add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Combine flour, salt and juniper berries. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
4. Shape dough into a ball and place into plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
5. Roll out to about a quarter inch using powdered sugar to decrease stickiness. I added some sugar to the dough as well and kneaded it slightly. Cut into shaped using your favorite cookie cutter dipped in flour or powdered sugar. I just bought this nice crescent moon that I wanted to try out.
6. Place on baking sheet and place back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes so your cookies will hold their shape when baked.
7. Bake for about 15 minutes or just until the edges are a golden brown.
8. Cool on cookie sheet. This recipe makes about 2 dozen crescent moons.
Instructions for glaze
Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and three tablespoons of the milk or cream and mix until smooth. Add the last tablespoon milk or cream a little at a time until the glaze is thick but can be drizzled.
Put this into a shallow bowl. Add any color gel food coloring to the glaze but don’t mix it in unless you want a solid color. This will give you a pretty pattern when they are dipped.
Dip cooled cookies into glaze and lift out. Place back on cookie sheet and add a sprinkle of juniper sugar. Let the glaze dry before serving.
I keep these cookies in the refrigerator. They are wonderful and spicy and a great addition to any ritual.