From the Family Recipe Box - Nutmeg Rum Logs
Last week, we talked about the benefits of using freshly grated nutmeg. Today, I am pulling out a Christmas cookie recipe from the family recipe box which features the wonderful flavor of nutmeg - nutmeg rum logs. This delectable butter cookie is spiced with freshly grated nutmeg and topped with a rum flavored butter cream frosting. Scoring the frosting with the tines of a fork and sprinkling with grated nutmeg yields a cookie which resembles a miniature buche de noel. Would you like to add this cookie to your holiday baking list? Okay! Let's bake!
The recipe for nutmeg rum logs that I use appears in a cookbook I have called Cooking Under the Arch, which is a collection of recipes published in 1980 by the mother's guild of my high school alma mater, Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware. My mom used a similar recipe that she cut from a magazine. When I pulled out Mom's recipe, I saw a hand written note where she referred to the recipe in Cooking Under the Arch and commented that it was better than the recipe that she had used. I can't say if one recipe is better than the other because I only used the recipe from the Archmere cookbook.
For this recipe, you will need one cup (2 sticks) of SALTED butter, softened. Please note that use of salted butter is imperative here because there is no other salt in the recipe! You also need 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 cups of AP flour and 3/4 teaspoon (freshly grated!) nutmeg. That's it, except for the frosting which we will discuss below. These cookies are so simple but so delicious!
As with most recipes, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the AP flour and the freshly grated nutmeg.
In your stand mixer, cream the softened butter. With the mixer running, gradually add in the sugar and continue beating until the butter/sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Be sure to periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the ingredients are thoroughly combined together.
Add the flour/nutmeg mixture to the bowl in three additions, mixing well after each addition. You will have a soft, pliable dough which is super easy to handle. Your dough is now ready for shaping.
Take a small portion of dough and using your hands roll it out in a long strand about 1/2 inch in diameter. Using a plastic dough scraper, cut the strand into 3 inch pieces. I like to use my rolling mat from King Arthur Flour for this. The measuring tape along the bottom edge of the mat makes it easy to cut cookies of equal length. Place each cookie on a parchment lined baking sheet. Be sure to leave sufficient space between the cookies as they will flatten and spread during baking. I like to put one dozen cookies per baking sheet.
Bake the cookies about 12 minutes or until they start to brown along the bottom edges. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before sliding the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely before mixing and applying the frosting. This recipe makes 3 dozen cookies.
For the frosting you will need 1/3 cup of SALTED butter, softened. As with the cookies, you must use salted butter for the frosting as there is no other salt in the recipe. You will also need 2 cups of 10x confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons rum flavoring and 2 tablespoons milk or light cream. I use skim milk because that is what I have in the fridge. I also use Lorann rum baking emulsion. Baking emulsions are flavorings made by Lorann to be used exactly the same way that you use an extract. The difference is that extracts are alcohol based while bakery emulsions are water based. I find the flavor in this bakery emulsion to be more intense. If all you have is rum extract, no worries. Your frosting will be delicious!
Put all of the frosting ingredients into a small bowl with tall sides and beat them together until smooth and creamy. I use my hand mixer for this frosting. Spread the top and side of each cookie with a liberal amount of frosting. Don't worry about making the frosting perfectly smooth. After you have frosted all of the cookies, go back and score the frosting with the tines of a fork. This creates texture on the cookie which resembles tree bark.
It is important to frost all of the cookies before scoring them with a fork. The amount of time it takes for you to frost all of the cookies will allow the frosting to set up slightly so that when you run the fork tines through the frosting, the marks will be more pronounced. Finally, using your microplane and a whole nutmeg, grate some nutmeg onto each cookie. Allow the frosting to dry for 3 to 4 hours before packing the cookies in single layers divided by wax paper. Note: These cookies freeze beautifully! This makes them a natural for baking and freezing before the holidays.
Voila! Miniature buche de noel! I wish you could reach into your computer screen and pick up a cookie to try. I guess you'll just have to bake up a batch of nutmeg rum logs for yourself! Enjoy!!