My culinary heritage: Christmas nutmeg cookies

As part of my culinary goals, I am revisiting my culinary heritage by re-creating and re-imagining my family recipes. This post is about one of those delicious creations!

This time, I am sharing one of my paternal grandmother’s cookie recipes. These cookies, Rich Christmas Cookies, are part of my youngest sister, Royann’s, Christmas tradition, along with another cookie from my maternal grandmother (which didn’t get made this year). And as I was honoured to be a guest at Royann’s house in the lead-up to Christmas, I got to participate in some of her treasured traditions – including these delicious things.

This is a well-used recipe from the family cookbooks

Despite having a lot going on this Christmas (as is a common theme for the holiday) these cookies were a must for her holiday traditions – in part because they were so important to her son (my godson) who was asking when they would be making them. (I do love traditions that span the generations.) Because we had a lot going on, the cookies were made in conjunction with decorating this year’s gingerbread house. That means that Royann made the cookies, with help from Cameron, and I only stepped in at the decorating stage – by which time Royann was onto another Christmas preparation task.

Royann did most of the heavy lifting (or, rather, mixing). As she worked, she explained that she calls them “Nutmeg Cookies” so that people know that they may look like regular sugar cookies, but they’re a bit different. She also explained some of the small changes she’s made to the original recipe, as noted below.

There was a fun collection of shapes, all chosen by Cameron. He took great care to ensure we had the right number of shapes, but also that we had enough of each shape when they were done. (And yes, that included pigs. Because we are of Eberle stock and that means pigs are a thing.)

Christmas cookies. Yes, that’s a pig.

Once Royann (with Cameron’s assistance) finished baking the cookies, I stepped in for the fun part: Decorating them! Although we decided to use up all the various scraps of icing from other projects which meant that much of it was hard to work with. So, when/if I make these on my own, I will certainly use fresh icing to save myself some hassle.

So, whilst it is my sister who did the bulk of the work making these cookies that form part of my culinary heritage, I am still sharing the recipe and the story here. Because if I’m honest, I would probably never make this kind of cookie on my own (despite loving to eat them). However, I did play a role in their making this year: I placed the cut cookies on the baking sheets and the next day I helped my godson to decorate them. (I just didn’t do any mixing or actual baking.) And if I were to make cut-out cookies, I think I might take inspiration from Royann and make these lovely cookies from my Grandma Cook’s recipe box.

Rich Christmas Cookies


2 cups sifted flour
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅔ cup margarine
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cold water


Sift flour, sugar, and nutmeg together and add margarine. Cut it in until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in egg and water. Chill slightly and force through cooky press or chill until dough can be rolled easily, about one hour. Roll to ⅛-inch thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut with different cooky cutters. Decorate if desired with candy sugar, silver shot and small pieces of candied fruit. Bake in a hot oven (400°F) for 9 to 10 minutes until edges are lightly brown. Frost as desired with plain or tinted confectioners’ sugar icing.

Makes 5 to 6 dozen assorted size cookies

Royann’s changes

(1) Substitute butter for margarine
(2) Additional water: Start with the initial 1 tablespoon then add more as needed (about 2 – 2½ tablespoons)
(3) Name change to “Nutmeg Cookies”

Below are some of the photos of the cookie-making progress for you to enjoy, in lieu of the actual cookies.

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