Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hildegard's Cookie recipe!

So who's this Hildegard?  Some great aunt of mine?  No.  She's a Catholic saint who had a lifetime of visions covering topics of theology, music and... MEDICINE!  Her medicine disappeared shortly after her death, resurfaced hundreds of years later in Germany, and was introduced to Americans more than 20 years ago with the publication of the book, Hildegard of Bingen's Medicine by Doctors Gottfried Hertzka and Wighard Strehlow.  Unfortunately, that was about it.

I loved this book when I first read it back in the early 90's.  I was in graduate school at the time studying John Paul II's Anthropology, as well as keeping up with my reading in natural medicine on the side.  This saint came along as somewhat of a synthesis of all that interested me!  (OK.  Maybe not everything.)

Fast forward to 2013:  This book needs to be updated.  The context in which the authors present her medicine involves an antiquated view of nutrition that was popular about three decades ago!  Not a thousand years ago, during the period in which she lived.

OK, so where are these cookies?

St. Hildegard is definitely what we would call a proponent of holistic health.  She places a lot of emphasis on one's mental and spiritual state and how they relate to health.  For example, she has a list of "happy" foods.  Yes, mood and mental state can apparently be influenced by food, and perhaps even intelligence?

So into the kitchen with Hildegard's recipe for nerve cookies.  We paid special attention to the warning:
Don't give the children too many, or they may outsmart their teacher.  Yeah right!  The 12+ dozen we made almost lasted two whole days!  Anyway, while we are waiting for the intelligence to kick in, here is the recipe (and pictures!):

1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups Rapadura/coconut sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 cups spelt flour
2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs.
Combine dry ingredients.
Add to creamed mixture.
Place on stoneware with small scoop.
Press flat with the bottom of a bowl or glass.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
Cool for a few minutes and place on cooling racks.

Hide them and use only as directly, 3-5 a day!


  1. Thanks for the recipe. Your blog post was linked in our most recent email to those in the oblate program at Saint Leo Abbey in Florida. The Benedictine Circle is discussing Saint Hildegard's "Divine Works." In the email I wanted to include a recipe from this wonderful saint and Doctor of the Church. The one here and your post are perfect. Thanks again.

  2. Does the recipe make twelve dozen cookies, or is that if you double or triple it? Also, do you know what size scoop you used? A tablespoon, or smaller? I can't wait to bake up my own batch after tasting the delicious cookies from the Benedictine Sisters. For some reason I'm not tempted to overeat them. One or two is enough to satisfy, alongside a nice mug of oolong or plain green tea.

    1. I use a scoop which holds about a tablespoon of dough. The cookies are small; bite sized, so yes, this recipe makes about 12 dozen.
      Thanks! I hope you enjoy the recipe!