It's always an emergency when I run out of Heart Sprinkles. Ever since I discovered this recipe in Rosemary Gladstar's book, Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner's Guide, I've kept a constant supply in my spice drawer. She calls it Sprinkles for the Heart, but I kind of like the idea of Heart Sprinkles. You really must try it. It's good for your heart, and so tasty!
Hawthorn (Craetagus laevigata) is a tree that grows quite freely here in New Brunswick. Its blossoms remind me of apple tree blossoms, and the berries do indeed look like tiny little apples. The hawthorn is one of the most respected cardiovascular tonics around. The berries, leaves, and blossoms are used (preferably in conjunction) to make tinctures and teas. They are rich in bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and procyanidins, all of which nourish and tone the heart. The result is that the heart muscle is strengthened, blood pressure is regulated, and the heart beat is normalized. Hawthorn is often used as a preventative, but is also used to treat heart problems. It is one that must be used regularly, though, as hawthorn does not stay in the body for very long. It is thought that hawthorn helps the emotional heart, too, not just the physical heart. You'll see it often in grief formulas, especially in combo with milky oats, St John's wort, and lemon balm.
Heart Sprinkles are used as a spice, however, and are not necessarily for preventing or treating heart problems. Shouldn't our food and snacks be useful, healthy and delicious, though? A trained herbalist can give more tips on how to use hawthorn for health. For now, enjoy the Heart Sprinkles!
Heart Sprinkles - a recipe by Rosemary Gladstar
2 parts hawthorn berry powder
1 part cinnamon powder
1/2 part ginger root powder
1/8 part cardamom powder
1. Measure out your ingredients. Mix them well.
2. Put them into a spice bottle, preferably one with a shaker top.
3. Put that stuff on everything!
What's everything? Well, here's a few ideas:
*sprinkle on oatmeal
*sprinkle on cut fruit (berries, apples, etc)
*mixed into plain yogurt
*sprinkled on a latte
*added to smoothies
*as a truffle/cookie garnish
Of course, don't forget to label your creation.
** This is fun, right?! And that's all it is for now. Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs in this website are for educational use only, and are not to be mistaken for medical advice. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Many traditional uses and properties of herbs have not been validated by the FDA or Health Canada. If you have health issues, concerns, or questions, consult your health care practitioner. **
Back in the spring of 2020 (Oh, my, remember that year?!) I posted an informational video on harvesting spruce tips. I had a little tutorial on making spruce sugar which was so much fun, smelled amazing, and burst with possibilities! But, what possibilities, exactly? The spruce sugar has sat in my cupboard all these months simply because I wasn't really sure what to do with it.
I present to you: Spruce Orange Shortbread Cookies!
I'm a huge fan of shortbread. I'm not sure why I didn't think to do this earlier. It's a rather dry dessert, but when it's made right, it's fantastic. The initial snap of the cookie when you bite into it, the melting in the mouth, and the flood of flavour....oh, my! Shortbread as a square is very simple, and usually requires minimal ingredients - butter, flour, and icing sugar. Cookies are a bit more complicated, but still very simple.
The spruce and orange flavours in this recipe are rather mild, so don't be afraid. It's a delightful experience, and kind of a hoot to tell your dinner guests you're serving them tree parts.
Spruce Orange Shortbread Cookies
1 1/2 cups of butter
2/3 cups of spruce sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar
zest of one orange
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1. Cream the butter, sugars, and zest.
2. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt.
3. Leave to chill in the refrigerator in an airtight container for at least an hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, or on a piece of parchment paper to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes and place on a cookie sheet.
6. Bake around 10 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned. Do not overcook.
7. Cool completely before icing.
8. The icing is very much 'taste as you go'. Start with around a cup of icing sugar and a teaspoon of meringue powder. Add orange juice and spruce syrup to obtain a very liquid, streamable icing (think white glue thickness). Adjust the taste to suit yourself by adding more or less of the juice and syrup. Drizzle over the cooled cookies. Allow to dry completely before storing.
Clinical herbalist. Mother. Teacher. Ever student.