With less than two weeks before Christmas, there’s still plenty of time to make some wild Christmas cookies, whether you plan to leave them out for Santa, or to eat them all by your lonesome. Here are some of my favorites, each with a different wild ingredient.
TIP: Some of these ingredients can be found in grocery stores, so don’t worry if your forager’s pantry isn’t fully stocked. You can still put together a mostly-wild holiday treat.
Spruce Tip Shortbread Cookies
You can make spruce tip shortbread cookies with soft, young spruce tips (if you’ve got some in the freezer!) or, at holiday time, use more mature spruce tips. In this recipe you’ll be grinding up the needles with sugar, so the less pliable, more mature spruce tips are fine to use. Just be sure to strip the needles from the branch and use only the green parts!
The slightly bitter flavor of juniper berries balances nicely with confectioner’s sugar to make this smooth icing. It’s the perfect topper for a wild gingerbread cookie.
Persimmon Black Walnut Cookies
Persimmon black walnut cookies are cakey, not crispy, and they come by their orange color naturally, thanks to the persimmon pulp. If you don’t have access to wild native persimmons, you can use soft, Hachiya persimmons. Lots of grocery stores sell them this time of year, along with black walnuts.
I was convinced I couldn’t make these spicebush macarons, thinking macarons were far too complicated for the home cook. Guess what? I was wrong! They take some time, but man oh man are they worth it. And not nearly as difficult as you might think.
Do you have a favorite Christmas cookies recipe you’d like to share?