Nutmeg Shortbread

I am completely addicted to other food blogs and find my need for a quick fix completely appeased by Foodgawker and Tastespotting. No, no, go on, take a look. I’ll wait. (Although, some of you, hopefully have just come from there.)

As a result, an ever-growing list of recipes to try is starting to clog up my bookmarks folder and I’m realizing that I have to actually start making some of things rather than just drooling over images of what other bloggers have made.

Which leads me to Nutmeg Shortbread.

These had been advertised as “tea cookies” at Apple Pie, Patis and Pate, but as I made them I realized they were shortbread. (Is “tea cookies” a common alternative name for shortbread?) This was kind of funny because I don’t love shortbread. But I really liked this recipe. I suspect using granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar gave them a slight chew I don’t find in other recipes.

Since there are so few ingredients, I have to say that this recipe really requires freshly grated nutmeg. Like other spices, pre-ground nutmeg loses something. I don’t think you will regret buying fresh nutmeg. These little nuggets are so innocuous at first appearance, but are beautiful marbled loveliness on the inside and the smell and taste is intoxicating.


When I wrote out the recipe, I only copied the ingredients, the oven temperature and the time the cookies should be in the even, believing the method would be the same as other cookies. So, I used my hand-held mixer to add in the flour and the dough seemed to shatter into granules. And that’s when I really began to freak out. Apparently, I was supposed to mix the flour in by hand. Whoops. But I thought I’d see it through anyway. It’s not really a disaster, I figured, until they come out of the oven as a disaster. So I packed the dough into logs, wound them up in parchment and threw them in the fridge overnight.

When I unwound the packages the next afternoon, the dough had formed into nice logs and, for the most part, were easily cut into slices. There were the odd pieces that crumbled a bit when I tried to cut off a slice — mostly, I suspect, because this is where I had joined the lumps of dough and I guess it was not quite as seamless as it looked..

Still, they baked beautifully and were super tasty. My love of intense flavours, however, was still left wanting. Next time, more nutmeg.

Nutmeg shortbread dough

Nutmeg Shortbread

Nutmeg Shortbread

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (But you may want to consider adding more if you really like the taste of this spice.)

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and the egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture by hand until just combined.

Divide the dough in four and roll into logs about 8″ long and 1″ in diameter. Wrap in wax paper, plastic wrap or parchment and chill until firm, from two hours to overnight.

To bake, preheat the oven to 350. Cut each log into pieces 1/2″ thick and space evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until just golden.

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  1. Whow, nutmet shortbreads! I love shortbreads but never considered putting in anything other than vanilla. Oh the possibilities! I’ve never heard them made with powdered sugar before. By powdered do you mean confectioner’s? That just seems wrong. I’ve always used granulated sugar, as called from in our British Cookbook. My father is a Brit by birth, and he always enjoys shortbreads dipped in tea, hence the name Tea Cookie, I assume. I’m happy to hear you found a recipe you like! Btw, shortbreads are really amazing a week after you make them. They don’t go stale. If you can be patient, I promise it’s worth the wait.

  2. WOW! Those look really great. nutmeg is by far my favorite “sweet spice” (and then allspice; I’m not really that into cinnamon). but for some reason I’ve never used whole. I know, I know…I should obey Alton Brown on this point, but nutmeg is one of those things you don’t use all that often. Though I would expect it retains its flavor during storage better in whole form anyway. I also didn’t realize it looked like little brains inside…

  3. Bronwyn, yes, icing sugar and confectioner’s are the same thing. And thanks for the explanation on tea cookie. My curiousity is now satiated.

    Danielle, I think the whole ones do retain their flavour much longer. I like to throw nutmeg into some savoury dishes too, such as cream sauces, so that helps me use them up faster.

  4. My family’s version – 2 tsp nutmeg, add 2tsp of rum

    After baking top with a rum icing of 3 tsp butter, 2tsp rum, 2 1/2 cups icing sugar, 2 teaspoons milk

    Ice the cookies and top with chocolate sprinkles

    We call them nutmeg logs

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