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spruce tip shortbread cookies

Spruce Tip Shortbread Cookies: Recipe

Spruce tip shortbread cookies make a great holiday treat. There’s no reason not to make these cookies year ’round, but I think there’s something especially wintery about evergreens, don’t you? You’ll be surprised by the bright, almost lemony flavor spruce tips add to this cookie. It’s the perfect counterbalance to the rich, buttery shortbread. Many evergreens have edible parts, including pine, spruce, fir, and hemlock. If spruce doesn’t grow near you, substitute one of these other evergreens. Read more

spruce tip panna cotta

Spruce Tip Panna Cotta: Recipe

My dinner guests are often confused by this pale green dessert, and I can’t blame them. But I don’t tell them what they’re eating until AFTER they’ve tasted it. Why? I want people to experience these new, unbuyable flavors with an open mind, without any pre-conceived notions. After all, green is an unusual color for a dessert, and most people don’t think of evergreen trees as food plants. Not until after they’ve eaten spruce tip panna cotta. Read more

spruce tip ice cream

Spruce Needle and Spruce Tip Ice Cream: Recipe

For many years I only used the soft, young tips of spruce branches for cooking, but recently I tried some mature, first year branches, harvested on a snowy December walk. I kept the branches in the freezer, waiting for a special occasion, and pulled them out last week to use in spruce tip ice cream. Their flavor is different from that of the tips. It contains more of the quintessential “spruce” fragrance. It’s slightly resinous, sweet, and woodsy, and I love what it brings to this dessert. I recommend using a combination of young tips and first year needles for the best possible flavor. Read more

Spruce Tips: a Tasty Spring Treat

Let me start by saying that even though spruce tips are a springtime treat in my neck of the woods, I’ve harvested them as late as August at 12,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies. It’s less important what the calendar says and more important what the spruce tree says. If the tips of the branches are light green, soft, and flexible, they’re at the right stage for eating. Read more