St Hildegard´s cookies of joy (An 800 year old recipe:))


School started last week and it was brutal. I was just overwhelmed. I am an English teacher and was informed that I have 200 students between 5 and 7 years old. It is not impossible, but that is a lot of people to be responsible for. I know I can do it but it I still worry. I don’t want to let anybody down. Don’t worry, this is not a post about the challenges of my profession or the fact that falling out of a routine is much easier than breaking back into it. It was this stress that inspired me to pick up my cookbooks and distance myself from my worries. It was then that I made a most interesting discovery about an 11th century German saint named Hildegard of Bingen. Along with her writings on holistic medicine and healing (her recipes are still used in Germany and you can actually purchase a collection of her recipes), she wrote sacred music which is still recorded today. This cookie recipe is hers and she says,

“Eat them often 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…”

Well, I decided I had to try them. I was feeling pretty irritable due to the chaos of the first week of school (generally the result of poor planning on the part of my bosses) and I suddenly felt inspired by this interesting woman. Harmful humours were getting diminished. 🙂

They tasted terrific. They reminded me of Christmas because of their gorgeous smell as they were baking. They were so easy to do too. Suddenly, all the things that were annoying me seemed to annoy me less. And when I had a few of these with my tea, I was just delighted. They are great with coffee too! I was reminded that the hot summer weather is coming to an end soon. I love the smell of autumn air!

Saint Hildegard’s feast day is September 17th. I will be enjoying tea and these cookies on her special day!
I hope you will want to try these too. They are lovely!

Makes about 60 cookies


1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup  sugar

2 eggs (room temperature)

3 1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Beat the sugar and butter together in a large bowl. Add the eggs. Sift in the flour baking powder and spices. Form into a large, smooth ball. If your dough is too dry, add a tablespoon or two of milk or water.

At this point you can put the ball in the fridge or freezer. I put mine in the fridge to make the next day.


Preheat oven to 175 (350)

Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the cookie dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut out circles about 3 inches in diameter.


Place on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. The recipe states to bake them for 10 to 12 minutes but mine were ready in 8 minuutes. As always, don´t trust baking times faithfully because ovens vary. Set them on a cooling rack. You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar if you like.

Enjoy! Xxxxx Natascha



21 thoughts on “St Hildegard´s cookies of joy (An 800 year old recipe:))

  1. I am just catching up on my emails, now that I am back home from my travels. I hope your week back teaching is going well. Evie missed the first week since we were away so today is the first day of grade two! I only realized how incredibly important teachers are when I became a parent, I don’t know how you do it, but I know you must b an amazing teacher. Good luck for the school year!

    1. Thank you SO much! I often marvel at parents because they have to do much more tan i do! And at the end of the day, I am so glad that I can reléase the children to their drive them nuts instead of me! hahaha! Seriously though, my return to work has been hard but it will get better! It is a matter of getting a routine goingI guess! Good luck to Evie in second grade! That is a lovely age! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. What lovely cookies–they sound buttery and slightly crisp and pleasantly scented with the spices…I can certainly imagine how they must help during a stressful week! And what a lovely background story of St Hildegard!
    Good luck with all your students! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! The smelreally is wonderful and they are perfect with tea. I did not know much about this saint before but I loved learning about her too! Thank you for your kind wishes. I just have to be patient and things will fall into place.That is easier to say than to do! haha! xxxxx

  3. The cookies look great Natascha and love the spices in them, and the story. Good luck with all the kids and have fun too! 🙂

    1. Thanks so so much! I thought of you when I made them. You always have such lovely illustrations when you tell a story! I am having fun with my Little monsters..well with most of them hahaha!

  4. These look really good! I will definitely have to try them. I suspect the 11th century cookies were a bit different, but I’m sure they were enjoyed just as much.
    Hope the rest of your week went smoothly. My younger daughter is teaches 8th grade English. This is her first permanent position.

    1. Thank you! I hope you like them too! The rest of my week was ok but now I have a chest infection. Children love sharing their viruses haha. I am getting better though. Best wishes to your daughter! 8th grade is not easy! She must be a very patient and understanding person. 😙😙😙😙

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