Indonesian Nutmeg Tea Cookies – Kue Kering

Indonesian Nutmeg Tea Cookies - Kue Kering

Somehow I ended up bringing home more nutmeg than I can realistically use in a lifetime. I get way too excited when visiting Middle Eastern and Indian groceries and end up buying spices cheap and in bulk. Five pounds of turmeric for the price charged at Whole Foods for a thimble-full? Why the hell not. My silicone spatulas are perpetually stained a peculiar shade of yellow from all the dals and curries I’ve been making, but I’m not complaining. I just need to use it all up somehow before these spices turn into pantry sawdust, which incidentally means that Alzheimer’s disease is the least of my worries for now.

It’s a completely different story with nutmeg because it’s not a good idea to ingest it in large amounts. Aside from easily overpowering anything, it usually takes a backseat to other ingredients for good reason — it has trace amounts of hallucinogens, giving you one more thing to worry about come mandatory testing day.

Since you’re just dying to use this spice already, here’s a rare recipe that uses nutmeg as a main ingredient. A little goes a long way and a batch of 64 bite-sized cookies calls for an amount barely more than a pinch. It makes all the difference in elevating this basic cookie dough into something much more interesting.

Think Spice, Think Nutmeg
Think Spice, Think Nutmeg hosted by My Diverse Kitchen

recipe adapted from James Oseland’s Cradle of Flavor

Indonesian Nutmeg Tea Cookies
Kue Kering

makes approximately 64 bite-size cookies

Nutmeg on Microplane Grater

8 ounces butter (two sticks), at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) whole wheat pastry, regular pastry, or all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • I used whole wheat pastry flour for this cookie dough. In addition to the health benefits from whole grains, the combination of lower protein content (compared to all-purpose flour) with the wheat bran and germ inhibits gluten formation, resulting in a more tender cookie.


Cream the butter with a whisk or electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg until thoroughly incorporated.

Stir together the flour, salt, and freshly grated nutmeg in a separate bowl.  Add the nutmeg flour to the creamed butter mixture slowly while stirring by hand, just until combined.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each piece of cookie dough into a cylinder about 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. Wrap the log in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight. Something tells me this dough will also benefit from a 36-hour rest in the refrigerator.

Indonesian Nutmeg Tea Cookie Log

To Bake:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a baking sheet for each cookie dough log. Cut each log into 16 equal pieces, about half an inch thick, and space evenly on the baking sheet. Bake the cookies at 350ºF for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Indonesian Nutmeg Tea Cookie Sliced

To Serve:

Serve with hot tea or tea-flavored ice cream, depending on weather appropriateness.

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24 Responses to “Indonesian Nutmeg Tea Cookies – Kue Kering”

  1. Aparna says:

    Thank you for sending in these lovely cookies.
    I’m guessing you would be able to really get the flavour of nutmeg as there is nothing else to mask it here.

    last blog post: Spiced Apple Cake With Streusel Topping

  2. rainbowbrown says:

    I feel you. I recently purchased a five pound bag of cumin. The cookies sound really good. I’d bet they’d be great with a cup of spiced tea.

    last blog post: TWD Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

  3. Fearless Kitchen says:

    This looks really fantastic. I don’t use a whole lot of nutmeg, so it seems very exotic to me.

    last blog post: Recipe: Spare Parts Soup

  4. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    What an interesting use of nutmeg! We don’t use nutmeg at all really, so this is a good way indeed to use up some nutmeg. ;) I hear you on the overbuying. How many pounds to go?

    last blog post: Grilled Prawn, Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit, with Cabbage Salad

  5. GirlCanBake says:

    These are some really great photos! I love the look of this simple cookie! Absolutely delicious.

  6. Marvin says:

    Wow, nice use of nutmeg. The cookies look awesome. And I never knew nutmeg was halucinogenic.

    last blog post: Coffee Cookery

  7. giz says:

    I had to laugh at your description of the spice expedition. I thought you were writing about me for a second. It’s so hard to resist a good spice store that sells in bulk and dang that nutmeg is pretty small – doesn’t everybody need at least a dozen?

    last blog post: Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad

  8. Haley W. says:

    I love the way whole nutmeg looks (and smells, and tastes) when you grate it. Yum! Hey, there’s a small surprise for you on my blog – stop by when you have a chance!

    last blog post: Cucumber-Watermelon Salad

  9. Rosa says:

    An original way of flavoring cookies! Delicious! They look extremely flaky, wow!




  10. aparna – Yup. Nutmeg flavor’s there. Sometimes it just gets lost when added with other spices.

    rainbow – Almost out of cumin… Got only 1 1/2 pounds left.

    fearless – Thanks!

    js – Still got about 6 dozen nutmeg nuts.

    girlcanbake – Thanks!

    marvin – Didn’t know either until I started writing this. Thank god for Wikipedia.

    giz – At least these things keep well. I think.

    haley – Just dropped by your blog. Thanks for the nomination!

    rosa – Yup they melt in your mouth and are really light.

  11. momof5 says:

    Can never have enough nutmeg. Try mixing equal pinches of savory and nutmeg and add it to any dish to enhance flavors (veggies, chili, potato salad, green salad). Even without the savory, nutmeg enhances any soup, marinara, etc.

    My favorite spice!

    Can’t wait to try these cookies.

  12. Sookie's Kitchen says:

    Mmmm, they sound scrumptious. On my ‘list’ to make! Love nutmeg. In fact, I just made an apple betty with nutmeg in it last night. It’s a great spice!

    last blog post: Steak, Tomato, Carmelized Onion, Basil, & Cheddar Frittata

  13. african vanielje says:

    Jude I love all your photos, they are so simple and elegant. Nutmeg is one of my favourite spices. Who knew about the hallucinogens….

    last blog post: Chocolate, children and perfect puppies.

  14. mom – Never had savory before. I’ll go buy a 5 pound bag when I get a chance.

    sookie – Nutmegs definitely go well with apples.

    vanielje – Thanks!

  15. green tea says:

    This looks really fantastic. I don’t use a whole lot of nutmeg, so it seems very exotic to me.Jude I love all your photos, they are so simple and elegant.Thanks..

  16. Madhuram says:

    I’ve heard that nutmeg has some medicinal properties too, which by the way I’m not sure. I’m from southern part of India and as far as I know nutmeg is used in a very small quantity in a sweet rice dish (pongal), it truly gives “the flavor” to the dessert.

    Simple and lovely cookies Jude.

    last blog post: Eggless Almond Biscottis

  17. oolong tea says:

    it sound great. i never try nutmeg b4, its time to have a try.

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