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.