This winter I have found myself drawn to working with juniper. It has brought up the memory of playing amongst juniper bushes as a child, squashing her berries and smelling the oils. At the time, I didn't know it was juniper I was familiarizing myself with.
There is much mythology and spiritual meaning behind the juniper bush. For some, juniper is about boundaries. For others, purification. And for some, inner fire. Personally, I am not yet sure what juniper means to me. However, this winter I have been exploring her depths, scents and flavors. Doing so helps me feel closer to the message she holds for me and discovering the reason why she came into my life this winter.
The latest culinary vision I had in my mind was one of rich nettle green cakes and decadent pink juniper frosting.
2 C gluten free flour (or flour of your choice)
3/4 C pure maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 C almond milk (or milk of your choice)
2 large eggs
1/2 C oil (of your choice)
Large handful of dried nettle leaves (more to taste)
Preheat oven to 425F
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking powder, salt)
In a blender, combine the milk and dry nettles. Blend until it becomes a paste (or it looks like greenish milk). You will still see flecks on nettle floating around- that's okay
In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, maple syrup, oil, and nettle milk.
Add wet ingredients to the dry. Mix until combined.
Pour into donut tray and bake at 425F for 9 to 12 minutes. Cupcake trays will work too, but you may need to bake for longer.
Simple Mills Vanilla Frosting (no homemade frosting this time... sorry! I like this brand because it is dairy free and agrees with my body)
2-3 tbsp beet juice
Juniper tincture/elixir or food grade juniper berry essential oil
1/8 - 1/4 C Honey (optional)
Scoop the entirety of the frosting jar into a bowl
Add the beet juice
Add the juniper tincture/elixir or oil (add to taste. If you want it to taste super junipery, add more)
If the frosting is too liquidy, slowly add in honey to thicken it up
Once cooled, frost the nettle cakes. Adorn the tops with rose petals and juniper berries
Thanks the nettles and juniper for your tasty treat and enjoy!!
If anyone has a relationship with or stories about juniper, I would love to hear!