Dutch Pepernoten (peppernuts) have a slightly sweet speculaas aniseed taste. They have a soft texture, and you can compare them with chewy biscuits. This simple recipe gives a small cookie with a delicious speculoos taste. Eat them fresh or even while they are still lukewarm. Then they are the tastiest. A delicious recipe for Sinterklaas evening, accompanied with chocolate letters (Dutch people love these!)
Sinterklaas is a Dutch holiday (in English, also known as Santa Claus, Sint Nicolaas, or Saint Nicholas); December 5th is, of course, the time to bake your own pepernoten. And if you go for an old-fashioned recipe, you bake traditional Dutch pepernoten. These small snacks are one of the typical Dutch recipes. And that cannot be compared with the kruidnoten you buy in the store. Dutch kids love these.
Dutch Pepernoten cookies (Peppernuts)
On Sinterklaas Eve, Sinterklaas comes over the rooftops with his white horse (it used to be at least) and bring small presents. And he brings spicy cookies with him, which he throws around the room.
Kruidnoten are hard, crunchy cookies with a half sphere shape. But these little cookies, pepernoten, are soft, airy, chewy (like taai taai), and got the form of a cube. Homemade the best!
And this easy recipe certainly does!
And do you like to turn on the oven for Sinterklaas as part of your holiday traditions? Then try these taai taai, cake with kruidnoten and kruidnoten brownies.
What do you need for Traditional Dutch Gingerbread Cookies?
To prepare these Dutch Pepernoten, you need the following ingredients. You can find the correct amounts in the recipe card at the bottom of the blog:
- Flour and self-raising flour - Self-raising flour is flour mixed with baking powder. Combining this with all-purpose flour gives you an airy cookie but is not as light as a cake (where you only use self-raising flour). You can also replace this with 4 cups (400 grams) of flour with one teaspoon of baking powder.
- Honey and sugar syrup - The sweeteners of the pepernoten. Honey gives it a mild taste, and Dutch syrup (boiled down sugar beet juice) makes the flavor deeper and fuller if you can't get Dutch syrup, use golden syrup instead.
- Egg - binds the dough. Use an egg size M.
- Speculaas spice mix and ground aniseed - give the dough the typical old Dutch pepernoten taste. Speculaas herbs are a Dutch spice mix that you can compare with gingerbread spice mix or pumpkin spice mix. If you want to make it yourself, look at this recipe for kruidnoten.
- Salt - a pinch of salt intensifies the sweet taste.
How to prepare mini Dutch Spice Cookies?
You can find a printable recipe with a step-by-step description at the bottom of this blog.
- Use a large bowl and mix the egg, honey, syrup, egg, gingerbread spices, aniseed and salt well with a spatula.
- Place a sieve over the bowl and add the self-raising flour and flour. Sift it over the batter so that there are no lumps.
- Knead with an electric mixer with dough hooks until you get a cohesive dough (about 3 minutes).
- Shape the dough into a round, flat form and wrap it with plastic. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour; then, the dough will stick less, and you can process it better.
- Roll out the dough to ½ inch (1 cm) thickness. You cut horizontal bars from a ½ inch (1 cm) distance with a sharp knife. Then you cut vertical strips at a distance of ½ inch (1 cm) from each other (this gives you equal parts in the shape of a dice.
- Line an oven tray with parchment paper and divide the gingerbread cubes over the paper. Place in a preheated oven (350 °F / 180 °C) and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and done. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
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Dutch Pepernoten (Peppernuts)
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- Mix the egg, honey, syrup, speculaas spices, aniseed, and salt in a large bowl with a spatula.1 egg, ½ cup honey, ¼ cup Dutch syrup, 1 tablespoon speculaas spice mix, 1 teaspoon ground aniseed, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Place a sieve over the bowl and add the flour and self-raising flour. Strain this over the liquid, so you don't get lumps.1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 cups self-rising flour
- Mix with a hand mixer with dough hooks until you have a cohesive dough, three minutes on medium.
- Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap it in plastic wrap.
- Place it in the fridge for at least 1 hour to cool it down.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F( 180 °C) or 320 °F (160 °C)
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Roll out the dough to ½ inch (1 cm) thickness. Cut horizontal strips of ½ inch (1 cm) thickness. Then repeat this with vertical bars at a distance of ½ inch (1 cm_ from each other); you will get a cube of ½ x ½ x ½ inch / 1 × 1 × 1 cm).
- Place the dough cubes on the baking tray at a sufficient distance from each other (about ½ inch (1 cm_ between each cube of dough).
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown
- Don't - These Dutch pepernoten are best when they are still lukewarm or have just cooled down.
- Room Temperature - Store them in a sealed box at room temperature for up to three days.
- Refrigerator baked Dutch spice cookies - DO NOT store pepper nuts in the fridge. That's a humid environment. That causes a change in the structure, and that is not nice.
- Refrigerator dough - The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to two days before baking.
- Freezing spice nuts - Store them in an airtight container and freeze them. Thaw them at room temperature. Then, heat them in a preheated oven at 320 °F (160 °C) for five minutes to get them tasty again.
- Freezing dough - You can freeze the dough in an airtight container. Keep it up to one month. Then, let thaw in the refrigerator.