DUTCH NUTMEG COOKIES
1 cup butter
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
½ cup chopped nuts (we prefer almonds)
2 cups sifted flour
¼ cup sour cream
Cream butter with first five ingredients until fluffy. Gradually add sugar until batter is fluffy.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer cookie batter to baked cookies. Winter of any given year finds me running my fingers around the rims of mixing bowls and hiding batter-covered wooden spoons from my own kin.
To me, perfection is cookie batter before the addition of the flour when the sugar is still sandy and batter still dripping off the spoon. I know because of the raw eggs this may be dangerous, but I have been doing it for years. In high school I had an odd culinary preference: I mixed together and ate melted butter, granulated sugar (white and brown) and eggs. These days, as I make cookies with my kids, I still eat the gooey stuff when my kids aren’t watching me closely (“Honey, could you get the chocolate chips out of the pantry for Momma?”) Once we even mixed away our batter while watching The Lion King, and you could say Simba dared me. “Danger, HA! I laugh in the face of danger.” You see, inspiration is everywhere. When it’s as delicious as cookie batter, count me in. I like the batter better.
Baking cookies is such a generational bridge. My grandmother taught me how to chop a salad, braise meats, and stretch a food budget, bless her. But my Mom taught me how to bake. Sitting on top of our Formica counter as a kid in the 70s, I watched my Mom decorate the wood paneled kitchen with confectioner’s sugar, all-purpose flour, smudging the pages of her Joy of Cooking cookbook with little spots of butter from her fingers.
Chocolate chip is a tasty batter, no argument there. Oatmeal raisin cookie batter lends a pleasant crunch. But my childhood memory includes Dutch Nutmeg cookies and their creamy batter. Dutch Nutmeg cookies – I don’t know where my Mom got the recipe, but to me, there is no other holiday cookie. Every autumn and winter of my life, Dutch Nutmeg cookies appeared atop baking sheets on overcast Saturday afternoons.
The batter is ivory in color, with little specks of nutmeg throughout. My love affair with nutmeg may have begun with these cookies, at once nutty, milky and sweet, delicate, and rich. The batter is a cinch to make alone or with kids. After mixing, you roll the batter into a log. It can be frozen or refrigerated. The house is filled with good tidings and holiday spirits as soon as the spicy, sweet batter meets the heat of the oven. In my home, this doesn’t happen as often as it does at Grandma’s.
Because the batter is beguiling (and I tend to give in).
These cookies are proper enough for tea or dipping into hot chocolate, plentiful enough for gift-giving, and certainly would be appreciated by Santa, he probably gets a lot of chocolate chip cookies, you know.
We watch a lot of movies as we re-visit holidays past making these superb cookies. This year, my three-year-old daughter, Melia, is in love with Sesame Street. As I hear (rewound over and over, actually), “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me!” I wonder how it is that I find tie-ins to food in everyday life.
Inspiration really is everywhere. Better yet, it follows you from generation to generation and season to season.