Saturday, May 7, 2011

St. Hildegard's Cookies

St. Hildegard of Bingen lived in the 12th century. She was known to receive visions from God, and perhaps utilizing these, she not only invented a new genre of music (pretty much the first new thing since the Gregorian chant) but also wrote some medical books, plays, and was a highly respected abbess. She was never formally canonized, but it was a simpler time, and she's made her way to having a special feast day on the calendar.

One of her recorded medical remedies was a small cake or cookie intended to make a person smarter and happier. The original recipe was only cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and flour with some water added. However, many versions are going around which try to make these a little more palatable to modern tastes. Here is my own effort:

2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c butter
1 egg
1 c white sugar
1/4 c water
2 1/2 tsp each: ground nutmeg, cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. In large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, egg, milk and spices. Stir until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix well. Cover and chill for 4 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets.
3. Roll out dough on a floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out cookies with round cookie cutter and place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.
4. Bake 10 to 20 minutes (time will depend greatly on what kind of cutouts you made) or until lightly colored. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 4 dozen.

While baking these up, you might listen to a bit of St. Hildegard's music:

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