Lemon Balm & Juniper Berry Sugar Cookies: A Gather Diary Sneak Peek

So here is my latest Gather Diary. This sneak peek is made possible by wonderful Gather Patrons whose support gives me the extra time to keep a diary of what I’m making, baking and concocting each month! Thank-you!!! I’m a little behind, but I’m determined to get the rest of the recipes out in the next week. Still to come Dandelion Root No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars and Citrusy Sheep Sorrel Cupcakes.

But first up – Lemon Balm & Juniper Berry Sugar Cookies. Last month I made these sweet little cookies for a workshop titled Cultivate Your Calm held by Pause, Gatherings for Women. Why? Well, the event was billed as “an evening for women who want to discover the secrets to creating feelings of peace and well-being” – and nothing fit the bill more than these two gentle, delicious aromatic nervines traditionally used to reduce anxiety and uplift the spirit!

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Lemon balm is a delicious, lemony herb in the mint family, and Juniper Berry is the spicy aromatic teeny tiny cone of the Juniper tree. Both are renowned for reducing stress hormones like cortisol – while gently stimulating mental focus. Both are also very ancient and sacred herbs. Lemon balm, (Melissa officinalis) Latin name takes its name from Melissae which means ‘bee’ in Greek. And for  2000 years it was sacred to bee priestesses (called Melissae) who worshipped goddesses associated with the moon.

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Young Lemon balm leaves.

In the Middle Ages, it was employed in cure-all elixirs for promoting general happiness. Lemon balm is safe to consume on a regular basis, even for children- unless you are on thyroid medication, so check with your doctor. As a very mild bitter and relaxing herb, great for sluggish and nervous indigestion and you can use the fresh plant (or recently dried) in tea or as a medicinal plant tincture.

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Juniper Berries & Juniper Berry Sugar (made by grinding the berries with sugar in a food processor). Recipe here

For those who have never encountered the juniper berry, imagine the spicy exotic notes of nutmeg and allspice, and the scent of fresh-cut evergreen branches combined. Renowned for its cleansing, clearing and protective qualities, the berries were burned as a purifying incense by ancient Egyptians and Greeks, and as a smudging herb by Siberian shamans. And they have a long history in cooking and baking! 

Not only do their calming & uplifting healing influences double up in this cookie, but their combined flavours sing on the tongue! Well I think so anyway! 

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For Recipe click here.

 

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Whether its through wildcrafting, plant medicine, kitchen witchery or seasonal celebrations, I believe we can enhance personal, community and planetary well-being by connecting with mother nature!

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