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Feature Recipe: Spruce Root Shortbread Cookies

December 03, 2018

Create a Holiday classic with a Haida Gwaii twist!

Traditionally, trees on Haida Gwaii could be used for a variety of reasons from food, shelter to clothing! The Sitka Spruce was once harvested and sent to England during the second World War to make mosquito airplanes. Today, the roots are still gathered to make hats, baskets and more, a salve from the pitch can be made to treat ailments and the roots can be made to eat!

Sitka spruce tips are edible if picked at their prime! When harvesting, make sure to pick the tips when they are emerging from their brown papery castings. During this stage the tips are tender with a fresh flavour! They taste resembles lightly of resin with citrus hints. As spruce tips age into needles, the flavour intensifies and are no longer edible.

Spruce shortbread

  • Makes 16 “1X3” cookies
  • Preheat the oven to 300 F
  • Finely chop the spruce tips and process them together with sugar. Add flour and process in bursts, mixing well, scrape out any sugar or spruce tips trapped in the corners of the food processor. Cut the butter into 1/2 ‘ chunks, add to the processor bowl and process until the butter is evenly distributed and the dough holds together when pinched.
  • Dump the dough onto parchment paper, forming into an evenly thick triangle. Roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin until the rectangle is 6’ by 8’. Using a straight edge as a guide, cut the rectangle into 1’ crosswise strips and then into half lengthwise to form 16 1’ X 3’ cookies. Prick each cookie 5 times with the tines of a fork. Carefully place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake in the preheated over for 23-26 minutes, or until the cookies are set and just starting to turn golden. Let the cookies cool before serving and Hala ga taa (come and eat)!

Our tip?

Process the dough just long enough so that it can be rolled our but still appears crumbly in the bowl. If you process the dough until it forms a ball or sticks together in the processor, the cookies will spread out on the baking sheet and their texture will suffer .

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