Christmas Extract

Christmas Extract - In pretty bottles
The inspiration for this recipe was a home made Vanilla Extract recipe that I saw on Pinterest. When I realised how easy that was to make at home it got me thinking, and this is what we came up with. We started making our extract at the end of August, so that we could give our concoction time to develop it's flavours, and ensure that it would work - and it does! This is our own original recipe, our aim was to produce an extract that has all the aromas and flavours of Christmas concentrated into it - add a teaspoon to cakes when baking, mince pies, cocktails, desserts or anything else you can think of.

Not everyone is aware that pine needles are edible, and are in fact high in vitamin C, as well as having other benefits. When foraging please ensure you are 100% sure of what you are picking, and bear in mind that some evergreens such as yew are highly toxic. I also recommend that you provide an ingredient list with any home-made items that you give away as gifts, so the recipient can make an informed choice to whether or not it is suitable for them.

This is what we used and did....

Christmas Extract - You will need

50g Molasses
50g Dried Cranberries
Zest of half an Orange
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 pieces Mace
3 Cloves
6 Allspice Berries
Handful of Pine Needles
250mls Brandy

Christmas Extract - bruise the spices

Bruise the spices and pine needles in a pestle and mortar, and add to a jar with the molasses, cranberries, orange zest and brandy. Pop on the lid, and give it a good shake.

Christmas Extract - Bruise the pine needles

Christmas Extract - place ingredients into a jar

Leave in a dark place to infuse for at least 4 weeks, giving it the odd shake when you think about it. We tasted it every so often to check how it was developing, and although we didn't feel a need to adjust it, you could easily do so.

Christmas Extract - Pour in Brandy

Christmas Extract - Strain through Muslin


Once you are happy with the taste of your extract, strain through muslin and bottle. The flavour of your extract will continue to mature and mellow over time.

Christmas Extract - Decant into bottles

Our extract is dark and syrupy, and smells like Christmas trees and mince pies, which is exactly what we hoped for. It is very concentrated, and we plan to use it in exactly the same way you would any other extract. When we made it we also made a liqueur version, with exactly the same ingredients but with the added addition of Vodka - here is the recipe for our Christmas Spirit.

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  • Reply Fionnuala

    Fantastic idea! I really like the sound of this.
    Fionnuala from
    Fionnuala recently posted…My Sunday Photo, 15th November 2015My Profile

    November 15, 2015 at 8:31 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It’s got a lovely flavour – we’re putting it in everything, even used it to marinade some meat on the weekend!

      November 17, 2015 at 4:08 pm
  • Reply Jenny Eaves

    This sounds amazing, great idea to make cakes and desserts a little more special. I love that you used pine needles too, that’s definitely one of my favourite Christmas smells!
    Thanks so much for linking up to #HowtoSunday :) x
    Jenny Eaves recently posted…How To Sunday Linky #8My Profile

    November 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Would be perfect for adding to something like shop bought mincemeat to make it a bit more special. We had lots of fun going around an arboretum trying out all their different pine needles – people must have thought we were mad!

      November 17, 2015 at 4:10 pm
  • Reply Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby

    Wow! I didn’t know making a homemade one is as easy as this… such a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing! #HowtoSunday

    November 15, 2015 at 6:46 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      We’ve been making Vanilla Extract too, in different alcohol bases which has been fun :)

      November 17, 2015 at 4:12 pm
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