The smell of fresh baked spiced cookies was wafting over the campsite, so Sophie and I decided to investigate and go see where this delicious smell was coming from.
Under the archways that overlooked a tangled garden, a table had been set with a plate of fresh baked Cookies of Joy made from St Hildegard’s own recipe.
The simple sign next to them read:,
‘Take a few and eat a few. All we ask is that you share the Recipe with others.’
So I did.
Here is what I copied out of the ancient leather volume lying next to the plate of Hildegard’s Cookies of Joy (which quickly disappeared down you-know -who’s gullet)
(Recipe reconstructed and adapted from Hildegard's circa 1157 treatise Physica: Liber Simplicis Medicinæ )
"Eat them often," she says, "and they will calm every bitterness of heart and mind - and your hearing and senses will open. Your mind will be joyous, and your senses purified, and harmful humours will diminish..."
Cookies of Joy
3/4 cup butter or margarine (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Let butter soften and then cream it with the brown sugar. Beat in the egg. Sift the dry ingredients. Add half the dry ingredients and mix. Add the other half and mix thoroughly. Dough may be chilled to make it workable. Heat oven to 350°. Form walnut sized balls of dough, place on greased and floured cookie sheet and press flat. Bake 12-15 minutes (till edges are golden brown.)
Cool for 5 minutes, remove from cookie sheet and finish cooling on racks.
For those of you who want to know what the writing says on the plaque above the Illuminated Manuscript painting of St Hildegard and her biographer Theodoric, a very loose translation follows:
St Hildegard: “Now Theodoric, write this down carefully… it’s TWO pinches of Cinnamon, TWO pinches of Nutmeg and only ONE pinch of Ground Cloves!”
Plaque: VJS Metamorphosis kit: Veronica Spriggs collection
Font: Fraktur (Recipe book) and Francisco Lucas Briosa (Plaque)
All photos: St Hildegard and her biographer Illuminated Manuscript. Archways, cookies, leather bound book - c/r free the net