wooden spoon

wooden spoon

To shop for mace, first you must clarify that there’s no stalker or that you do not have a restraining order.

Next, you explain that it’s a spice used in cooking, not a personal weapon.

Across the board, the answer had been a solid “Nope, no mace.”

But I’m persistent. I will continue my quest and, hopefully, not only will I find it but it will be priced within my budget. According to the internet, a .9-ounce smidgen of McCormick mace is listed from $5.39 to $8.79 or $30 for 1/4 pound or 4 ounces.

Interestingly, mace didn’t make it into any list of most expensive spices. With saffron, vanilla and cardamom being the top three on most lists, mace falls short.

I love lists and food facts; consequently, my mace quest included checking out these spices and satisfied me on both points.

My search was triggered by this week’s recipe. The co-winner of my annual Golden Spoon Award, Joy Chamberlain’s sourdough cinnamon buns, calls for mace. However, since I was mace-less, I used its relative, nutmeg, as a substitute.

Mace and nutmeg are more than relatives, they are basically fraternal twins. Mace is the red, lace-like covering of nutmeg.

Since I’m a self-admitted, clumsy cook, I operate under the premise that if I can make it, anyone can. My experience with Joy’s recipe illustrated that point to a T.

I decided to make them for our New Year’s morning treat. Although I read and reread the recipe, I managed to miss the part about starting the night before.

You mix the sourdough starter with evaporated milk and some of the flour and let it sit overnight. Oops! When I discovered that omission, I figured it would be a good idea to add some yeast to the mix, which I did.

Since I was without the mace, I used freshly grated nutmeg.

With those two alterations to Joy’s recipe, I turned out a light, delicious and easy treat.

I plan to make these again. Remember to start the night before and, hopefully, find some mace.

In the meantime, here again is the second 2020 Golden Spoon winner.


3/4 cup sourdough starter

1 cup undiluted evaporated milk

3-1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup soft butter

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon mace*

1/2 cup raisins, chopped prunes or dates

Stir sourdough starter into evaporated milk with 2 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let stand overnight in a warm place.

Next morning, toss brown sugar with cinnamon, mace and chopped fruit and set aside. Beat softened butter with sugar and egg until blended. Stir into sourdough mixture until blended. Sift remaining flour with soda, baking powder and salt and add to sourdough mixture. Stir to make a soft dough. Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth and velvety. Keep enough flour on board to prevent sticking and roll dough to a 16-by-8-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter and scatter fruit/spice mixture evenly over top. Roll up dough starting from the long side. Cut into nine rolls, and brush tops and bottoms with additional melted butter. Place in a 9-inch square baking pan, cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about one hour.

Bake in a 375 degree oven (moderately hot) for about 35 minutes. Serve warm with additional butter if desired.

*nutmeg may be substituted for mace.

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Longtime Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at thewoodenspoon@juno.com