30 September 2008


C is for cookie …. well that all depends on where you come from. In England & Australia B is for Biscuit and in Spain G is for Galletas, whereas in Italy they have a completely different range of names from amaretti to biscotti.

Going back to the root of the English word ‘cookie’, we find that it was derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning small/little cake. According to culinary historians, these little cakes were the product of chefs using small amounts of batter to test the heat of their ovens before baking. I will soon be taking a trip over to Holland, to visit my brother and to taste the local delicacies – he says they have excellent local cheese & yogurt, so I will be reporting back!

In regards to reporting back, each year I find that the decrease in autumn temperature, brings with it an increase in my desire to cook with fragrant spices. However when it comes to my spice rack, I fear I have lately been playing favourites ….  exploiting certain spices while marginalsing others to their traditional roles.

A good example of this is nutmeg – great for beshamel sauce, perfect for rice pudding and even better when used in savoury spinach quiche. But should that be all? Is that everything this little “nut” has to offer?? Perhaps I should be looking outside the recipe box, to the sweeter side of life. Which got me to thinking about my mother’s delicious sugar cookies and how nicely they would compliment the aromatic flavours of nutmeg. And as they say, whoever they are, the rest is history!

NUTMEG – A History

  • Native to the Banda islands of Indonesia
  • Nutmeg is a seed from the evergreen tree
  • The tree produces small yellow flowers that bear fruit – inside is the nutmeg seed
  • Name derived from the Latin nux muscatus “musky nut”
  • The Pericarp (exterior fruit/pod surrounding the nutmeg seed) is not waisted : in Grenada it is used to make ‘Morne Delice’ jam, in Indonesia for making candy, “nutmeg sweets”
  • Prized / costly spice in medieval cuisine : St. Theodore (ca.758-826) supposed to have allowed his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on their pea pudding!!!
  • Valude for its medical properties : remedies for nausea & indigestion
  • Use : Best grated fresh!



  • 175 gr (3/4 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 170 gr (1 cup) packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla
  • 300 gr (2.5 cups) white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg


  1. Beat the softened butter until light in colour & texture
  2. Now add in brown sugar in 3 lots
  3. Next beat in egg & vanilla
  4. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder & salt, mix well.
  5. Now add to butter mixture in 3 lots
  6. Make a round flat ball with the dough, divide in 1/2 & cover in plastic wrap
  7. Chill for 1 hour
  8. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F)
  9. Using 1/2 the dough at a time, roll out on a well floured surface & rolling pin (approx. 0.5cm thick)
  10. Cut out shapes using large cookie cutters
  11. Place on a non stick baking sheet at least 1cm (1/2 inch) apart and bake for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on your oven and how chewy you like the cookies to be!)
  12. Let cook on a cookie rack.

12 Responses to “SUGAR COOKIE”

  1. Olivier Says:

    I love any kind of cookies but those are special! The nutmeg ads a delicious and subtle taste … a real addiction!

  2. OLIVIER: thanks for your note. I tried this recipe with cardamon but the nutmeg worked so much better. Perhaps I will make a batch this weekend!!!

  3. Lauren Says:

    Get your spices in gear with a new spice rack! You’ll use more of them when you actually know what you have… I like the SpiceStack because it stores 27 of YOUR spices from the grocery store in the kitchen cabinet. Check it out at

    Thanks for the great recipes, I can hardly wait to try these cookies!

  4. LAUREN : too ture re the spice rack – there will be no where for the spices to run and hide! This looks like a great spacesaver as well – always needed when living in the city! Let me know how you like the cookies 🙂

  5. Paul Says:

    Thanks for posting the sugar cookies, with a twist! Wow, I would not have thought of “spicing it up” with nutmeg. I will try them out and let you know. Nice to know the history of this nut as well and always love the photos.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I would not have thought of using nutmeg.Nice to read the history of this nut. Great photo.

  7. Marjorie Says:

    Thanks for the sugar cookie recipe……………with a twist! I would not have thought of using nutmeg this way but can almost taste them already. Since I have a “cookie addict” in the house, I will try them this weekend and let you know. Nice to read the history of this nut, as I do use this spice a lot but usually in a savory sense. Great photo shot!

  8. PAUL: I have tried several spice variations with this recipe, however nutmeg was the one that worked the best. Always open to other suggestions though 🙂

    MARJORIE: hope your cookie addict will like these. Here we were thinking that NUTmeg was a nut – and in the end it is a seed – names and appearances can be deceiving!!!

  9. chocolateshavings Says:

    Erika, those cookies look great! Nutmeg is like this great secret ingredient that makes flavors stand out.. so I can only be sure that these are delicious!

  10. Kristan Says:

    These cookies look incredible. If I had an oven I would make them right away. Nutmeg is such a unique flavor profile. Great idea and perfect photo to tempt my tummy! I will be hinting towards these in France and Geneva. Maybe a care package to Rotterdam? Hint Hint, nudge nudge………

  11. Marjorie Says:

    I made them and ………………..YESSSSS, they really are amazing with the hint of nutmeg. It is interesting that you don’t need much to realize the taste. My “cookie addict” has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar quite often; in fact, they are going fast so we are both happy with the outcome. Sugar cookies will always have a nutmeg flavor from now on. M x

  12. CHOCOLATESHAVINGS: the nutmeg really comes out in these cookies and instead of being a complimentary spice like in so many other recipes it is the principal for these cookies 🙂

    KRISTAN: I will bring some of these over to Rotterdam for you and homemade loaf of bread. Your colleagues will be lining up at the door!!

    MARJORIE: pleased they were such a success.

    If anyone is looking for a new spice rack take a look at this recent post on the Travelers Lunchbox blog

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