Tag Archives: juniper cookies
Unlike fruit cake, holiday cookies are a tradition without much room for improvement. They’re easy, they’re festive, they’re fun to make, and even when they’re not the best, they’re still enjoyable. A cookie, like Adele, can do no wrong.
That said, there are some ways to take them to the next level, especially if you’re an adult who’s had your fill of red and green sanding sugar and sprinkles. We’re talking about alcohol, of course; Aviation American Gin to be specific. The icing on this juniper-flecked shortbread has a whole 3-4 tablespoons of the good stuff, and definitely tastes like Aviation: aromatic, spicy, floral, and undoubtedly boozy. I used the icing itself sparingly, but since we’re all grownups here, feel free to use as much as your gin-loving heart desires.
As for the shortbread base, adding juniper seemed like a natural move. It’s not a common flavor in desserts, but its piney, slightly citrusy character is especially well suited for the season. Think rosemary, but less herbal and more woodsy. I used 40 juniper berries (roughly a tablespoon) in the shortbread dough, crushed in a mortar and pestle. It seemed like a lot at the time, but actually ended up having a pretty subtle effect — I liked that, but would absolutely feel comfortable doubling to two tablespoons on the next go. A bit of lemon zest brightens and boosts the juniper’s citrusy notes, and the rest of the cookie story is familiar: butter (so much butter), sugar, and flour.
If being an adult in the middle of a busy, sometimes-stressful holiday season isn’t enough of an incentive to treat yourself, we’re going to have to remind you that December 4th is National Cookie Day. Have a cookie — or four. You deserve it!
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons juniper berries, depending on your fondness for juniper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons Aviation American Gin
Crush the juniper berries thoroughly, using a mortar and pestle (in a pinch, you can also use a plastic bag and a rolling pin). Add the crushed juniper and lemon zest to the sugar and use your fingers to rub the juniper and lemon zest into the sugar to release the fragrant oils.
Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and the sugar/juniper/lemon zest mixture until just combined. In a separate bowl, sift whisk together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter mixture. Use the mixer on low speed to mix the dough just until it starts to come together.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and shape it into a disk (it’ll be a little crumbly). Wrap the disk in plastic and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and prepare two large baking sheets by lining with parchment.
Roll out the dough to an even ½-inch thickness, then cut into small 1 ½-inch circles using a cutter. Transfer to prepared cookie sheets and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before icing.
To make icing, combine powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons Aviation American Gin, until smooth. Add the additional tablespoon of Aviation if necessary to achieve the consistency you’d like. Use a piping bag or simply drizzle the icing over the cookies with a spoon.
-Danguole Lekaviciute, Aviation Team Member