From my kitchen to yours :: Dutch Christmas Cookies
For those of you who don't know, I have a Dutch connection in the family. There's a whole celebration the Dutch have which culminates on the eve of the 5th December, which is the night Sinterklaas (the Dutch equivalent to Santa Claus) and his helper Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) leave presents and lollies for the children (If you're Dutch, please forgive my interpretation- it's a very short description).
I'm told that it's a huge celebration in the Netherlands, with Sinterklaas arriving by boat from Spain in mid November, to streets lined with people from the town come to welcome him and Zwarte Piet.
The tradition varies between families, but I'm told that each night you leave your clogs at your door after Sinterklaas has arrived you will receive lollies in return along with traditional Dutch biscuits called "Pepernoten"...but you need to be singing traditional Sinterklaas songs. Which brings me to the point of this post. Today's recipe is for traditional Christmas Cookies, which I'm told by a reliable source (hopefully) that they taste quite like the Dutch biscuits-"Pepernoten."
These Christmas biscuits create the most delicious, Christmassy smell when baking. It really does make the house smell like wafts of Christmas. They taste a bit like gingerbread, but are softer and have a hint of extra spice :)
This will make (depending on the size of your cookie cutter) about 30-35 cookies.
What you'll need is a rolling pin and some miniature Christmas cookie cutters. You'll also need...
160ml golden syrup
260g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup mixed peel, chopped
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon milk
Sift all dry ingredients together. Add peel.
Add the milk to the dry ingredients and the cooled butter mixture.
Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius and grease oven trays.
Bake in a moderate oven for 10 mins, or until they are golden brown on the edges. Cool.
Once cool, dust with sifted icing sugar.
Voila! Traditional Dutch "Pepernoten" Christmas Biscuits. They would look great in one of my Christmas Goodie bags ;-) Now I don't know if they taste like they are supposed to, but there were none left at the end of the day and I got the thumbs up from the Dutchman!