Decisions…decisions… There are so many spices that remind me of the holidays.
Somehow, I landed on Nutmeg because not only does the spice Nutmeg enhance sweet recipes, the spice Nutmeg also enhances savory dishes. I was really surprised to learn that the spice Nutmeg needs to be used in moderation. It also has a lot of medicinal and cosmetic benefits.
Is it Naughty or Nice? That is definitely a matter of opinion….Read below…You Decide.
Below, I’ve posted a few cookie recipes. One recipe is for Chocolate Nutmeg Amaretti (with a sugar-free variation). The other cookie recipe is for Spice Drops. This recipe is my take on my husbands favorite Snowball Cookie recipe.
What is Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is not a nut. Nutmeg is the seed from a peach-like fruit that grows on an evergreen tree which is typically harvested in Indonesia. This peach-like fruit is not considered very tasty and is typically pickled.
Nutmeg is purchased either whole or ground (freshly ground Nutmeg is definitely more flavorful). Like most spices, it needs to be stored in a cool, dark location.
Why is Nutmeg Naughty?
Nutmeg needs to be used in moderation. A pinch or two per serving is okay. However, large doses can trigger vomiting and nausea. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid the use of nutmeg.
Nutmeg is typically used in sweet dishes like rice pudding, fruit desserts, pancakes, waffles and cakes. It is also enhances savory dishes…especially recipes that have greens, root vegetables, cheese and eggs. My mother always adds Nutmeg to the cheese filling for baked lasagne and baked ziti. So, now I do the same and it really kicks it up a notch.
Of course, with the holidays in full swing, we cannot forget about Eggnog (the recipe calls for Nutmeg). If you have leftover Eggnog and are not sure what to do with it, check out the recipe that Southern Living Magazine published in December 2009 for Eggnog Cupcakes: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000001940930.
Note: Home remedies should not be tried without consulting the physician.
Nutmeg is known to have strong antibacterial properties, aid in digestion, improve appetite, and combat asthma. I also ready that it is used to relax muscles and treat acne. Nutmeg is also listed as an aphrodisiac.
Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Chocolate Nutmeg Amaretti Cookies
Yield: About 48 cookies
2 cups Almonds (whole or slivers)
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
4 tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
4 Egg Whites
good pinch of Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
1 tablespoon ground Nutmeg
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
sliced almonds to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, process almonds with ½ cup of sugar until finely ground and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Stir in cocoa powder and confectioners sugar. Set aside.
- In medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
- Sprinkle in remaining ½ cup sugar and beat well until glossy and stiff.
- Beat in almond and vanilla extracts.
- Fold egg whites into almond-sugar mixture.
- Spoon into piping (pastry) bag fitted with plain ½ inch nozzle.
- Pipe 1 ½ inches rounds about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
- Press an almond sliver into each cookie.
- Bake 12 minutes or until crisp.
- Cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate or dip into melted chocolate and sprinkle with colored sugars or just leave plain..
Sugar-Free Variation: Substitute the granulated sugar with Splenda. Substitute the 4 tablespoons of confectioners sugar with 2 tablespoons of Spenda/Brown Sugar Blend.
Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Spice Drops
Yield: About 48 cookies
½ cup Granulated Sugar
¼ cup Brown Sugar
½ cup Shortening
1 teaspoon Vanilla
½ cup Butter, softened
2-1/4 cups Flour
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cardamom
½ cup Confectioners sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add ½ cup confectioner’s sugar to a large ziploc bag and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream sugars, butter and shortening.
- Add egg and vanilla and beat until blended.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the remaining ingredients.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to the sugar-butter mixture and beat until well blended.
- Roll heaping teaspoons of the cookie dough into balls.
- Place on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart from each other.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer warm cookies to the ziploc back and shake to coat with confectioners sugar.
- Place on wire rack to cool completely.
Variation: Before baking, Roll the cookie dough ball into the colored sugar. Skip the steps to roll in confectioner’s sugar.