Nutmeg Logs: The Best Cookies Ever?



Bring on the Nutmeg Logs


I admit it: I’m a glutton for these cookies. Furthermore, I have yet to taste any other holiday cookie more mouth-watering and delectable than these babies. Believe me, I’m a cookie monster and know a good cookie when I eat it. That said, I haven’t tried every cookie on the planet, so if you’ve got a better recipe, then by all means pass it on. However, and this is critically important, don’t even bother until you’ve tried these and compared.



Sadly, I can’t claim credit for this recipe, which is really more a divinely inspired concoction than a simple list of baking instructions. All I know is my grandmother made them for me when I was a child, my mom made them after her, and these days I make them for myself (that is, unless my lovely wife or wonderful sister take pity).  Note: If someone knows the original source for the recipe, let me know and I’d be more than happy to give credit.  Meanwhile, I’ll give credit to my grandmother, Ida Larson, who I could always count on to have at least 3 or 4 different types of cookies all freshly baked and ready to eat whenever I visited.  Ida was a truly special and loving woman who will always be missed and cherished by those who were fortunate enough to know her.


Yum.  Good cookie.

They do look a little like snow covered logs.

I believe these cookies were originally considered winter time cookies because of the way they look.  And if you haven’t figured that out yet, they’re supposed to look like logs with thick bark covered in snow—you know, with tiny bits of bark scattered over the top.  If you’ve ever been camping during the winter and wanted to make a fire this is bound to make more sense.


In our family, Nutmeg Logs were always considered a treat for the winter holidays (i.e. that magical time between Thanksgiving and New Years).  However, these cookies are so good there’s no reason anyone should limit them to a particular time of the year.  For that matter, there’s no reason you’d need to stick to the original shape or color of frosting.  Hmm…maybe I’ll make a Valentine’s version this coming year.


Wintertime or otherwise, these cookies probably taste so great because they’re loaded down with butter.  And what’s better than butter with sugar, right?  Okay, maybe they’re not the healthiest treat around, but once in awhile you’ve just got to bite into something that melts on your tongue and enjoy it for the simple reason you can.


Let’s Gather The Ingredients


Did I mention we’ll need butter?  Okay, here’s our full list:



Here's today's ingredients.

If using unsalted butter you’ll probably want to add a dash of salt.

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter (or if you use unsalted add 1/4 teaspoon salt)

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 egg

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups of white flour



3 tablespoons butter

1-1/4 -to 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon rum extract (or rum)

4-6 teaspoons evaporated milk (see below for substitutions)




Pull the butter and egg out of the refrigerator a couple hours prior to mixing up your cookies and allow them to warm to room temperature.


These cookies have lots of butter in them.

Add the butter, sugar and liquids and combine.

When you’re ready to make your cookie dough, pull out a large mixing bowl, or better yet use a stand alone mixer (the dough does get thick).  Now, add in butter, sugar, vanilla and egg.  Stir well with your egg beater or mixer.  Note: If using non-salted butter you may want to add a quarter teaspoon of salt.


Next add the dry ingredients, which include the nutmeg and flour.  It may work best to add a little of the flour at a time while the mixer is going.


Once the dough is well-combined, shape it into a loaf with your hands, wrap it in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  Some recipes like this one ask you to cool the dough.  As I understand it, this cools the butter back down and that helps maintain the edges of shaped cookies as they bake.  If you don’t care, as I admit I sometimes don’t, then skip right along to baking.  Otherwise, stick to the formula, which we know is time-tested.  Meanwhile, if anyone else can offer another reason for cooling dough that makes more sense to me, by all means comment below.


Mixing the dough.

1) Mix dough. 2) Gather together. 3) Shape. 4) Wrap and refrigerate.


When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Next, cut or break the dough up into chunks, then shape and roll it out on a clean counter or other surface into long snakes.  Hey, this is almost as fun as Playdoh!  Next, cut small lengths about 3 to 4 inches long and place on an ungreased baking sheet.


When you’re ready, bake for about 12 minutes.  When the timer goes off, let the cookies sit a minute on the pan, and then remove to wax paper or parchment paper and allow to cool completely.


Here I'm getting ready to bake my nutmeg logs.

1) Separate. 2) Work dough and cut. 3) Place on sheet. 4) Bake and cool.


The Frosting


When the cookies are cool, you can whip up the frosting.  To do this, grab a small bowl and measure out your butter.  It helps if the butter is very soft for this, so again, leave it out on the counter beforehand, or if you forgot then zap it for a few seconds in the microwave.


Next add the powdered sugar, vanilla and rum extract.  If you prefer you can use real rum instead.  If you use real rum, allow the cookies to sit several hours or even overnight prior to serving so the flavors have a better chance to combine.


Now, we add our evaporated milk.  I sometimes skip evaporated milk in favor of eggnog or regular milk—it depends on what I have around.  It  takes a very small amount of milk to make this frosting so opening a whole can of evaporated milk rarely makes sense to me.  Note: Only add a teaspoonful of milk at a time to the sugar.  Then stir.  Eventually, you’ll get to a very spreadable consistency.  One problem I’ll run into if I don’t measure my liquid this way is I use too much, and then I need to keep adding more sugar to thicken it up.  Believe me, you can end up with way to much frosting this way.  Wait…maybe I should say too much frosting for me since my wife says there’s never enough frosting.


Once the logs are frosted and the frosting starts to set up, run a fork down the length of the cookie.  This is to give the snow-covered, bark-like appearance.


Finally, sprinkle a little nutmeg over the top to finish the cookies off.


Here's the steps for frosting my nutmeg logs.

1) Mix frosting. 2) Frost cookies. 3) Score frosting. 4) Sprinkle nutmeg.


Mmm…these are so good they should probably be outlawed.




If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also want to try:
Shortbread: Decadently Delicious


One Response to Nutmeg Logs: The Best Cookies Ever?

  • Alison says:

    My family makes these cookies as well, though the process is little bit different. My Grandmother, then my Mom & Sister made them every Christmas. One of my Aunt’s made them every Easter. In the shape of a bunny. I wish I had a picture, because I can barely remember what they looked like. But the taste! I can’t forget the taste :)


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