Thousands of kids in the Netherlands are once again getting excited about December 5th, and the tasty gift they’ll find in their shoes. That’s right… Sinterklaas is back!
Traditionally, sweet stuff is free-flowing around this special date here in the Netherlands, with heaps of marzipan, candy and pepernoten to fill our bellies. Our colleague Mijntje is the daughter of a master baker from the Utrecht area, and she visited the bakery to snag us the best pepernoten recipe. You should really give it a try… you won’t regret it! Your mouth will be watering as you rustle up these perfect little “Pepper Nuts”.
Your list for the supermarket:
– 129g wheat flour
– 250g self-raising flour
– 178g honey
– 75g maple syrup
– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp speculaaskruiden (this is a traditional Dutch spice mix – if you can’t find it, you can find recipes to make it online!)
– 1 tsp ground aniseed
– pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 185 C (365 F)
- Start with two bowls. In the first, sieve together the flour and baking powder.
- In your second bowl, put your honey, syrup, egg, ground aniseed and speculaaskruiden. Now you have everything you need for your own delicious spice paste 🤩 Great work! Use some muscle power to mix it together really well until you have a beautiful smooth blend.
- Next, add the contents of bowl one to bowl two, creating a dough. Start with a spatula, then empty the bowl out onto a board. Add some flour to the board first, to make the dough easier to work with. Then start to knead it with your hands – use those mega muscles of yours! – until it comes together in one big ball. Wrap it with cling film and let it rest in the fridge.
- After an hour, roll the dough flat with a rolling pin, on a work surface sprinkled with flour to stop it from sticking. The dough will be quite sticky to begin with, so the flour makes things easier, and your surface will need less cleaning afterwards too. Bonus!
- Divide the dough into little balls about 1 cm wide, a bit bigger than marbles. Squeeze the ball in your hand and press it onto your baking tray, lined with baking paper. This way, each of your playful peppercorns will be a slightly different shape, giving them lots of character. Remember: no two pepernoten are the same!
- Once you have all your gorgeous little dough balls on your tray, bake them in your oven for approximately 15 minutes… at this point you’ll almost be able to taste them! Top tip: you should probably let the pepernoten cool down first, you don’t want a burnt tongue just before the holidays… We know, serious willpower required!
Fun Fact 🤔: there are pepernoten and kruidnoten – there’s a difference! Pepernoten have the structure of taai-taai, they are angular in shape and their texture should not be crunchy. On the flip side, kruidnoten have a similar structure to speculaas. They’re crunchy and have a round shape.
Mijntje is not only a specialist in Pepernoten baking! She also takes care of Kaleido training. In her spare time, she enjoys acting, as well as having a drink with friends.