Limited for time this week, I flipped through one of the recipe boxes, looking for something that wouldn’t take much time and would also be enjoyed by everyone in the house. These cookies stood out as simple enoughand even better, they contained nutmeg. Always a fan of this spice, it also has a special Helen connection.
My senior year of college, I remember asking my mom what Helen might like for Christmas. She mentioned that Helen had been asking for a nutmeg grater.
This puzzled me as I had not known such a thing existed. Studying food science had given me plenty of technical knowledge, but there was still plenty to learn. Familiar with nutmeg as a baking spice, I had no idea that it came as a large, whole seed and could be ground down into tiny flakes with an incredibly sweet looking mini cheese grinder.How cute. Is. That.
Where I found one, I don’t remember, but find one I did and Helen received it that Christmas. Fast forward more than a decade, my mom purging Helen’s belongings in the interest of downsizing and moving her to a senior living facility. I inherited the nutmeg grater and have cherished it since.
Now knowing that grated fresh nutmeg is far better than the pre-ground powder, I keep a steady supply of bulk-purchase nutmeg seeds and grind what I need whenever I need it.Back to the recipe, then. One-half teaspoon ground nutmeg was a hefty amount and I was glad to let it shine in these simple butter cookies.A look back at the recipe shows that while ingredients are named and quantified, there is no actual making or baking information outside of “Put in icebox. Roll or drop.” How to mix? How to form? Temperature? Time? Plenty unknown here.
Still. The word “icebox” made me smile at its old-school connotation. Iceboxes showed up in the 1930s, and though this recipe was likely more recent (Helen noted in November ’66 that 1/4 cup more flour would be helpful for rolling.), it still uses this retro phrasing. And as we are having a heatwave here, icebox anything sounded divine. I chose to roll the dough, then wrap in plastic wrap before slicing and baking icebox cookie-style.
A baking temp of 350°F seemed standard enough, and I pulled the cookies after 10 minutes. They could have stood another 2ish minutes baking time, so would make that adjustment next go-round.
The cookies were tasty and though my oldest said, “there’s too much nutmeg,” she went on to eat two. But. I must confess: I completely spaced the 3 tablespoons milk. Had I added it, the dough would have been even more wet, absolutely necessitating that extra 1/4 cup flour.
These cookies are keepers if you like simple
Here’s to a wonderful day wherever you are. Please return next week for another round of Cocktail U.