Hildegard von Bingen, anno 1098 to 1179
According to Hildegard von Bingen ancient written recipe these cookies calm your Nerves
The spices strengthen the five senses: a clear vision, acute hearing, a fine taste, sense of smell and a sensitive touch
Hildegard von Bingen was a German Benedictine nun who was a natural and medicinal scholar at the Monastery of Rupertsberg at Bingen am Rhein
Hildegard von Bingen is considered the first representative of German mysticism in the Middle Ages. Her work deals with religion, medicine, music, ethics and cosmology etc. An extensive correspondence from her has been preserved, which also contains clear admonitions towards high-ranking contemporaries, as well as reports on long pastoral journeys and her public preaching activities.
Hildegard’s achievement lies, among other things, in the fact that she combined the knowledge of the time about diseases and plants from the Greek-Latin tradition with that of folk medicine and used the German plant names. Above all, she developed her own views on the origin of diseases, physicality and sexuality. She did not develop her own medical procedures, but merely collected already known treatment methods from various sources.
Hildegard von Bingen writings:
Liber simplicis medicinae oder Physica (1151–1158), „Naturkunde“ in nine books
Liber compositae medicinae oder Causae et curae (1151–1158), „Heilkunde“ in six books
What does Saint Hildegard write about the cookies in her books:
Diese Plätzchen vertreiben alle Bitternis deines Herzens und geben deiner Gesinnung Ruhe und öffnen dein Herz und deine fünf Sinne und machen deine Stimmung heiter und reinigen deine Sinnesorgane und mindern in dir alle Schadsäfte (noxi, mali, infirmi humores) und liefern deinem Blut eine gute Säftezusammensetzung, machen dich leistungsfähig, stark und froh. Hildegard von Bingen
Translation: These cookies drive away all the bitterness of your heart and calm your spirit and open your heart and your five senses, make you cheerful and cleanse your sense organs and reduce all harmful juices (noxi, mali, infirmi humores) in you and provide your blood with a good juice composition, make you efficient, strong and happy. Hildegard von Bingen
Health Benefits of the Spices
Nutmeg: The effect of the cookies is mainly based on the active nutmeg, which in abundance is known to be nerve-strengthening. Saint Hildegard uses nutmeg when it comes to increasing concentration, but also when blood purification is necessary.
Despite the positive properties of nutmeg, caution is advised here, because nutmeg is toxic in large quantities. Excessive consumption of nutmeg can lead to poisoning and even miscarriage if pregnant! That’s why you should not eat more than 3 to 5 cookies a day.
Cinnamon is an ancient remedy used in both Chinese medicine and ancient Egypt. Hildegard von Bingen knew about the healing power of cinnamon bark. Cinnamon is therefore an integral part of many traditional recipes. Today it is known that cinnamon regulates blood sugar, balances metabolism and reduces cravings for sweets. I in the Winter make a cinnamon tea almost daily. It has a permanent place in my seasonal kitchen. Today we know that Ceylon Cinnamon has more health benefits.
Cloves have a stimulating and energizing effect. The cookies are called sometimes “Energy Cookies” because of this property. I believe the cookies are more nerve-strengthening than stimulating.
In times that demand a lot from me, I need something that strengthens me. Then I can handle the stress much better. A retreat is the ideal. But it doesn’t always work. In such situations I like to be in the kitchen and bake Hildegard’s Nerve cookies.
The recipe includes a good portion of almonds. These contain a lot of vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and vegetable protein. Magnesium and protein in particular strengthen the nerves.
Hildegard von Bingen Nerve Cookies
- 2.5 cups Dinkel (spelt) or whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 brown sugar or honey (or to your liking)
- 1/2 cup ground Almonds
- 4 tsp Nutmeg
- 4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 egg
- 1 dash salt
An important note: Nutmeg can lead to poisoning in large quantities. That’s why I ask all my readers who like to snack on raw dough when baking to refrain from doing so. Even if it smells so seductive and delicious.
- Cut soft butter in pieces and combine with the flour, ground almonds and mix together by hand.
- In a separate bowl combine eggs, milk, salt and spices and mix together.
- Stir the egg and flour mixture together and knead into a smooth dough.
- Place the dough covered into the refrigerator for an hour.
- Roll out the dough 1/2 cm (0.2″) thick and cut out the cookies.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.
Nerve cookies should not be eaten more than 5 a day. It is important for pregnant women and children not to eat more than 2 – 3 cookies a day.
You can make a sugar glaze if cookies are not sweet enough
Can be frozen or kept in a jar a couple of weeks