My memories of nutmeg go back to when I was about six. I remember being curious about a wrinkly looking seed that was very very hard. I remember mum grating it and magically releasing a tantalising aroma that made me feel happy and fuzzy down to my toes. I remember holding a glass of creamy milk warmed just right with a sprinkling of that magic dust. I remember tasting the warmth and the spice as I tried my very best to form a big white milk moustache to match my white flannel pyjamas. I remember it made me sleepy.
That was nutmeg, in case you are still wondering what I was rambling on about. A spice tree native to Indonesia, it is the only tropical tree responsible for two different spices. Nutmeg, which is the seed of the tree and mace, which is the reddish flaky covering of the seed. Used in many different cuisines in both sweet and savoury dishes, nutmeg has a very distinct sweet and spicy flavour.
I often make a batch of plain old vanilla biscuits using this time tested recipe. I have tweaked it to bake a batch of delicate yet robust flavoured nutmeg butter biscuits. My new biscuit jar needed some tenants and these fitted the bill perfectly.
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NUTMEG BUTTER BISCUITS
- 250 g butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon cornflour
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups plain flour, sifted
- Preheat oven to 180C. Line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
- In a large bowl beat butter, sugar, nutmeg and egg yolk for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add cornflour and plain flour. Using your hands mix it gently until the dough just comes together.
- Chill the dough for 15 minutes. This will make it easier to handle. Roll dough into rounds the size of a cherry tomato. Place on prepared sheets leaving a 5cm gap between rounds.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the bottom of the cookies is browned and the cookies are golden and cooked.
- Remove from the oven, cool completely on trays and store in an air-tight container for up to 2 days (a week in the fridge).