Ah, the smell of baking up a batch of kruidnoten...
the spices used in these festive
cookies release a scent that sums up what I love about the season. It wouldn't quite be winter without these. In fact, I've made chocolate-covered kruidnoten many times, but they get gobbled up so quickly around my house that I rarely get a chance to take a picture for the site first.
Dipping kruidnoten in dark chocolate really brings out their best. Don't worry if they don't look as perfect as the shop-bought ones - they're homemade and much more delicious - and that's the point.
Yield: Makes 100 chocolate kruidnoten.
- FOR THE COOKIES:
- 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour (200 g)
- 1/2 cup donkerbruine basterdsuiker (see Tips) or pure cane sugar (demerera),(100 g)
- 7 tbsp butter (100 g)
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 4 tsp speculaaskruiden (or pumpkin pie spices)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- The finely grated zest of half an orange
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE COATING:
- 5.3 oz (dark) chocolate (150 g)
- 1 tsp butter
Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead (you may use a mixer with a dough hook attachment). You should be able to shape the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands. Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour. This gives the spices time to release all their flavors.
Preheat the oven to 347 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Grease a cookie sheet.
Wet your hands and roll little marble-sized balls of dough (of approx. 1/2 inch/12 mm). Place dough balls on the cookie sheet. Using your thumb, gently press down on each cookie to flatten slightly. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cookies puff up and turn a slightly darker shade of brown. Allow to cool.
When the cookies are stone cold, warm the chocolate and butter in a small bowl in the microwave (about 2-3 minutes). Stir until well-mixed and completely melted. Now dip the cookies into the chocolate (I find it easiest to do this using two teaspoons) and place on a cookie sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Allow to cool and harden.
Serve in small bowls with milk, coffee or tea, or simply on their own.
Basterdsuiker is a typical Dutch product. It is manufactured by adding invert sugar and other ingredients to fine white refined sugar. This mixture helps to achieve certain textural structures and keeps baked goods moist. There are three varieties, white, brown and dark brown, called witte basterdsuiker, (licht)bruine basterdsuiker or gele basterdsuiker and donkerbruine basterdsuiker. It is widely available from Dutch supermarkets and some
Dutch groceries on the internet. I've had good results substituting the donkerbruine basterdsuiker in this recipe with pure cane sugar (demerera).
You can order little sachets of speculaas spices (known as speculaaskruiden) online. But you can easily substitute pumpkin pie spices. You can also make your own speculaaskruiden. This may seem like a bother, but it gives you total control over the taste, allowing you to tailor-make your cookies with the flavors you like the most.
Chocolate-covered kruidnoten make a great gift. They look wonderful in a small box, tied up with a ribbon.