Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and nutmeg or cardamom. In a mixing bowl beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating until well mixed. Chill at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each half into a 10x5-inch rectangle. With a sharp knife, cut each rectangle into twenty 5x1/2-inch strips. Roll each strip into a 10-inch-long rope. Shape each rope into a loop, crossing 1-1/2 inches from ends. Twist rope at crossing point. Lift loop over to touch ends and seal, forming a pretzel shape. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 425 degree F oven about 5 minutes or until cookie bottoms are light brown (tops will be pale). Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack. Makes 40 cookies.