Hildegard von Bingen’s ‘Cookies of Joy’ recipe from 1157

Hildegard Von Bingen was born in 1098 in Germany. A Benedictine abbess, she was a visionary, healer, composer, poet, polymath, mystic, scientist and saint.

She wrote books on theology and natural science, composed groundbreaking music, explored medicinal uses of plants and animals and trees, and promoted the everyday ways we could heal both the body and spirit.

Like making her Cookes of Joy… 

Hildegard writes about nutmeg and gives her recipes for Cookies of Joy in her book, “Physics,” in 1157:

“If a person eats nutmeg, it will open up their heart, make their judgement free from obstruction, and give them a good disposition.”

“Take some nutmeg and an equal weight of cinnamon and a bit of cloves and pulverize them. Then make small cakes with this and fine whole wheat flower and water.” 

“Eat them often,” she says, “and they will calm bitterness of heart and mind, your hearing and senses will open. Your mind will be joyous, your senses purified and harmful humors will diminish…”

– Hildegard Von Bingen, 1157

 ‘Cookies of Joy’ recipe


3/4 cup butter or margarine (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
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


Cream butter soften with the brown sugar. Beat in the egg. Combine dry ingredients, add to wet and mix thoroughly. Dough may be chilled to make it workable. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Form walnut-sized balls of dough, press flat on greased baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes (till edges of are golden brown). Cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Servings: About 24


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