Cookies of Joy

Today, September 17, is the feast day of St. Hildegard, when it is tradition to make Hildegard’s Cookies of Joy (circa 1157). I chose Hildegard as my patron saint name when I became a Benedictine oblate last year, and I’ve been looking forward to this day.

In celebration of her life I decided to bake Cookies of Joy. The recipe is attributed to St. Hildegard, who said, “If you eat three to five of these cookies on a daily basis, it creates a cheerful countenance, lightens a heavy heart and reduces the effects of aging.” The original recipe called for spelt flour, a popular grain in Medieval times, and gaining in popularity now due to knowledge of its health benefits. The cookies also contain “spices that bring joy” such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Our kitchen was certainly joyful smelling this evening!

Jany Fournier-Rosset, author of the cookbook, From Saint Hildegard’s Kitchen, says, “The most important ingredient, in any preparation of food, is love…To cook with love is to offer one’s own heart.”

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