Some yummy seasonal cookies

christmas wreath cookies

We love baking during the Christmas season and these two cookie recipes we make every year. Speculaas (just like pepernoten) are very specific to December as we relate them to Sinterklaas, but where pepernoten really only hit the scene when the Saint is in town, we like to enjoy speculaas the rest of the year as well. Traditionally they are made using moulds depicting Dutch scenes like windmills, but we don’t bother and simply use a cookie cutter to make shapes.

Christmas wreath cookies are delicious and I think very Dutch. They look so pretty in the tree, and children love making them! Here are my recipes:

speculaas recipeSpeculaas

  • 200 g plain white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1,5 tablespoons speculaas spices (see PS)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100 g muscovado sugar
  • 125 g diced butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • optional for decorating: one egg yolk, blanched halve almonds

Combine flour, baking powder, spices, salt, sugar, butter and water, using your hands until it all comes together and forms a soft dough. Wrap dough in clingfilm and let rest in the fridge for about half an hour. Then give it a quick knead and roll out to approximately 5 mm thickness. Cut out shapes and place them on lined baking sheets. If you like a glossy finish, you can paint the cookies with the egg yolk. You can also decorate the cookies with halve, blanched almonds. Bake in a preheated oven of 190°C for about 15 minutes until they are nicely browned around the edges. Place on a wire rack to cool and harden.

Christmas wreaths

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 125 g butter (room temperature)
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200 g plain white flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • to decorate: 1 egg yolk, 2 teaspoons shaved almonds and 100 g powdered sugar

Cream the butter with the sugar (beat for 4 minutes). Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla pod down its length. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to mixture, together with the egg. Sift the flour over the mixture and add the salt. Mix / knead quickly with your hands to a nice, even dough.

Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for about an hour. Then, starting with half of the dough, roll out to 5 mm thickness. Punch out round cookies, punch out the holes. Keep rolling out the scraps until the dough is finished, while placing the cookies on lined baking sheets. Paint half of the cookies with the egg yolk and sprinkle with the shaved almonds. Leave the other cookies plain.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a 160°C preheated oven until light brown. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack. When cooled down, decorate the other half of the cookies with a frosting you create by mixing the powdered sugar with a tiny bit of water. Leave to dry. Store in an airtight container or hang on the branches of your Christmas tree! (In that case, eat them within a day or they will get soft.)

Happy holidays everyone! And have fun baking!

xxx Esther

PS Speculaas spices can be store bought in the Netherlands but can also easily be homemade. Just mix and store in an airtight jar:

  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground aniseed
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon

PPS pretty serving platters from Lollipop.


Comments (2)

December 23, 2016

Esther, these are amazing, thank you, I’m going to try your recipes!

Sofia do Vale
December 23, 2016

New amazing recipes for our “cookie season”. Thank you

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